The ACLU of Utah Activist
"Any adult Utahn who watched any television growing up probably knows these words by heart: ‘You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.’"
The ACLU of Utah works on criminal justice issues all up and down what we call the "criminal justice pipeline" - everything from law enforcement tactics and discipline in school to prison/jail conditions and felon discrimination. That's a lot of work. And it's also a lot of news to pass along to our supporters, allies and partners. So here goes!
Last year, Sen. Mark Madsen’s bill to legalize the use of medical cannabis nearly passed through the Utah Senate – and he has every intention of trying again in 2016. The ACLU of Utah agrees that NOW is the time to allow legal access to medical cannabis to people who are ill and wish to use this particular drug regimen if works for them.
The Prison Relocation Commission recently announced a series of "Open Houses" in various locations for members of the public to learn more, and ask questions, about the relocation of the primary Utah State Prison facility currently in Draper, Utah.
Plenty has been happening...so let's dive right in with some news on the prison relocation. Has the New Prison Relocation/Development Commission Started to Meet Publicly? No. No meeting set yet for the Prison Development (formerly Relocation) Commission. The last official public news was that the same five sites are still up for consideration - as presented in the February 27 PRC meeting - and that there is NO official ranking of those sites. The full presentation by MGT of America from that meeting is posted at the bottom of this post for your information. Does Any CONVENIENTLY Located City Want the Prison? Also No.
Here it is, friends, your final installment of select(ed) information from the 2015 legislative session, related to criminal justice reform.
You may have heard, Rep. Eric Hutchings' criminal justice reform bill - HB 348, "Criminal Justice Programs and Amendments" passed its latest hurdle (House committee hearing) with flying colors!
Reason #10: Defending the Impoverished Being poor shouldn’t mean that you are at a disadvantage when facing criminal charges, but too often, it does. The system for providing criminal defense to people who can’t afford a lawyer in Utah is fundamentally flawed, and county-by-county we fall short of what the Constitution requires. We fight for a well-designed and well-funded system of indigent defense in Utah, just as the Constitution of the United States requires. Reason #9: Pushing for Criminal Justice Reform Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons – over half of these for nonviolent crimes. The ACLU of Utah is working on the front lines of criminal justice reform that will dramatically decrease unnecessary incarceration, diminishing the tremendous human cost and financial cost to society. Reason #8: Expanding the Right to Vote for All The ACLU of Utah has worked tirelessly at the Utah State Legislature to protect voting rights in Utah. Last year, we successfully passed legislation establishing a pilot program for election-day registration in counties representing 74% of Utah’s population. We will continue our work to ensure that the right to vote is only expanded and never curtailed. Reason #7: Protecting our Privacy The ACLU…
Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it would support efforts to increase protections for members of the LGBT community in areas such as employment and housing. This is an important step forward in recognizing that our laws need to ensure that all people- regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity- are treated fairly and protected by the law.
ACLU of Utah Critical of Utah’s Acting As Plaintiff in Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Relief for Immigrants
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah is extremely disappointed that the name of the State of Utah has been lent as a plaintiff to a lawsuit that seeks the deportation of “Dreamers” and the parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents. Specifically, the suit seeks to force an end to programs known as DACA, which grants relief to certain immigrants who arrived to the United States as children, and DAPA, which grants relief to immigrant parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents. The decision for Utah to join this lawsuit directly contradicts the spirit of the Utah Compact and fails to live up to our shared Utah values that treasure children and family togetherness. In the Utah Compact, signed in 2010, hundreds of community, business and religious leaders committed to several guiding principles in approaching immigration issues, including: Families: Stating opposition to policies that unnecessarily separate families. Economy: Recognition of the economic role of immigrants. Advocates support of free market policies to maximize individual freedom and opportunity. A Free Society: Recognition that immigrants are part of society. States the need for a “humane approach…
This was a big week for criminal justice reform at the state capitol!