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Moving Justice Forward For 60 Years!

Help us Pass HB290 to Reform Probation and Parole in Utah

17 February 2021 Published in Legislative Work

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A new bill at the Utah Legislature, H.B. 290, seeks to address needlessly sending people on probation and parole to prison for simple mistakes and common struggles.

Imagine missing a doctors appointment...
Or not finding a job...
And going to jail as a result.

Sounds pretty extreme, right?

In 2020, over 3,500 people in Utah went prison for community supervision violations ... which can include non-criminal technical violations like not having stable housing, being unable to find employment, or struggling with substance dependency.

These are common challenges any of us could face, often without worrying about going to prison as a result.

The ACLU of Utah is working on changing Utah's laws to help people successfully complete their parole and probation sentences while lowering the risk that simple mistakes send them to prison or jail.

Now is the time to lobby your Utah lawmakers to urge them to pass H.B. 290 to make parole and probation into off-ramps away from prison instead of a long, costly roads back to  incarceration.

First, get started by signing up to receive our Legislative Action Alert Texts.

Because legislation moves fast on Capitol Hill, we will use simple text messages to keep you informed as priority bills are assigned a crucial committee hearing or scheduled for a vote on the House or Senate floor. We want to let you know how and when you can make your voice heard.

Second, click on the image below to send a message directly to your Utah Senator  telling them to vote YES on H.B. 290

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Be sure to explain that you are a constituent (i.e. a resident of their district) and use the talking points below. You can also check out our "Guide to Legislative Advocacy in Utah" to help craft your message.

Tell them to Support H.B. 290 because...

  • In 2018, over 18,000 Utahns were on some form of community supervision, mainly probation and parole.

  • In 2020, over 3,500 people in Utah went to prison for community supervision violations ... About half of the people going to Utah prisons because of technical vioaltions, which can be anything from missing an appointment with a parole officer, to traveling out of state, to breaking curfew without permission.

  • Most of these technical violations to not involve breaking any criminal laws.
    Utah has the second-fastest growing prison population in the nation, and technical violations are fueling that increase.

  • According to a 2020 report from the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, “(Parole) is the most direct driver of the overall increase in [prison] admission numbers between FY2016 and FY2019.”

  • Likewise, a 2019 report from the Council of State Governments noted that almost 80% of people admitted to prison in Utah are already on probation or parole.
    The cost of sending all those people to prison costs Utah about $75 million per year.

  • Each Utahn sent to prison for making a simple mistake or struggling with their circumstances is falling further behind in rebuilding their lives, their careers, and their connections to friends and family.

  • HB290 will transform parole and other forms of community supervision into an off-ramp away from prison instead of a long, costly road back to jail.

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