Utah Bill Proposes To Offer Rehabilitation

Utah Bill Proposes To Offer Rehabilitation and Help to Addicts and Mentally Ill Inmates!

In what is thought to be a landmark move, a bill has been introduced in the house that will change the way in which addicts and mentally unsound offenders are handled by the correctional system. Supported by the Department of Corrections, several legislators and Commission for Prison Relocation, the proposition floored by Senator Eric Hutchings is aimed at reducing the prison population and offering treatment and support to those who need it.

A pro reform rally was held in Salt Lake City which included one Damian Trujillo. As a 19 year old addict Trujillo was caught in a revolving door between prison and community and had been incarcerated several times on drug related charges well before he was in the second decade of his life.

The intervention of a kindly correctional officer who chose to help him instead of locking him up again is what saved Trujillo life. He is now in college, and is giving back to the community by being a counselor for substance abuse. He stands reformed and in support of the bill that will offer much needed rehabilitation support when needed.

However, there is also a flip side to the story. Sen. Hutchings’ bill, if passed, would demote drug possession charges to a misdemeanor. Currently, the crime is a felony and prosecutors are fighting neck and tooth to prevent the change that the legislation proposes. Their argument is that this would reduce the state’s capacity to offer a plea bargain. Also, it will move the offender from state correctional facilities, which have better treatment programs, into the local jails.