Data Trends: Utah Criminal Justice Reform

Pew-Charitable-TrustsThis report from The Pew Charitable Trusts examines data on prison populations and crime in Utah since changes to policies and practices took place in 2015. From 2004 to 2013, Utah’s prison population rose by 19 percent, five times the national average. Seeking to safely reverse this trend, lawmakers passed comprehensive criminal justice reform in 2015. The law prioritized prison space for people convicted of serious and violent offenses, strengthened community supervision, provided oversight of the legislation’s implementation, and improved and expanded reentry and treatment services. Since then, the state has reinvested more than $35 million in evidence-based treatment and other alternatives to incarceration and its prison population has declined. The state’s overall crime rate decreased 13 percent in the decade before the legislation was passed (2006–15) and continued to fall in the first year after reform (2016), dropping another 1 percent.