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Prison Population Trends in Utah Since 1994

By    |   Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 02:05 AM

Utah's prison population has grown 22 percent in the last decade, according to data analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts. That's a jump from 5,806 inmates in 2004 to 7,106 in 2014.

Here are some facts about prison population trends in Utah.

Population Growth
One factor in the changing prison population is that Utah's population has grown – from 2.4 million in 2004 to 2.9 million in 2014. However, Pew said, the state's prison population growth cannot be explained by the increase in population or crime. The state had 14 percent fewer crimes reported in that time.

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Longer Incarceration
The thing clogging the system, the Pew study said, is that prisoners are staying incarcerated longer. During the past decade, the amount of time served has risen by 20 percent. Offenders are serving a longer portion of sentences behind bars, and probation technical violators serve nearly twice as long as parole technical violators.

Many Nonviolent Offenders
While prison in Utah is for the worst offenders, it also has many nonviolent ones. In fact, 41 percent of the prison population is made up of nonviolent offenders, according to the study.

Drug Offenses
Despite efforts to keep many drug offenders out of prison and in treatment programs instead, simple drug possession is still the fourth-most common crime in prison because of increasing time served, the Pew report said. About 63 percent of new court commitments to prison are for nonviolent crimes, and possession of a controlled substance is still one of the most common crimes at admission.

Prison Reform
Utah has joined other states in a corrections and sentencing reform campaign. "We're calling on the foremost experts on public safety to create a new road map for our criminal justice system," Gov. Gary Herbert in a 2014 statement. "The prison gates must be a permanent exit from the system, not just a revolving door. Just like every other area of government, we need to ensure we are getting the best possible results for each taxpayer dollar."

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Utah's prison population has grown 22 percent in the last decade, according to data analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts. That's a jump from 5,806 inmates in 2004 to 7,106 in 2014.
prison population, Utah, trends
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2016-05-23
Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 02:05 AM
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