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US Bail Reform Exposing the Dangers of Bail Reform

New Mexico’s governor is warning Utah courts against implementing new bail reforms next month.  Governor Susana Martinez says the changes will put public safety at risk. But a Utah Court spokesman says Martinez message is ill-informed.

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The Utah Department of Corrections says it will write new standards for safety and operations at state prisons and county jails — and those standards will be made available to the public. The announcement Friday came after media and civil rights groups had challenged their confidentiality.

Whittney Evans/KUER

Richard Mauro has been a public defender for nearly three decades, representing people who can’t afford an attorney. So he knows, if you can’t make bail, it can really screw you over.

KUTV pool

A former sheriff’s deputy will spend four months in jail for his role in abusing inmates at the Daggett County Jail. Twenty-seven-year-old Joshua Cox admitted to Tasing inmates in exchange for soda.

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake County has officially launched two initiatives that will put hundreds of homeless people into housing and hopefully curb repeated jail stays. 

Whittney Evans

Law enforcement officials made 36 arrests Thursday morning outside the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City. But for the first time, many of the suspects were given the option to choose treatment over jail time.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah lawmakers this year authorized millions of dollars to be used for criminal justice reform. Counties across the state are putting together their proposals right now on how they would use the funds. But Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder isn’t waiting for state approval. He’s already allocated nearly a million dollars for a new probation unit.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

The Utah Department of Corrections officially launched a new intervention program Thursday to keep female offenders out of jail.

Whittney Evans

Fourteen inmates at Salt Lake County’s Oxbow jail graduated today from a program that helps them successfully transition from cell to society.

Today is the 66th commencement ceremony for inmates who’ve completed the rigorous five-week, 200- hour Life Skills program. The class takes up to 16 volunteer inmates willing to learn about things like parenting, personal health, cognitive behavior, the social impact of crime and personal finance. During the ceremony Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder spoke passionately to the graduates.

The University of Utah is bringing science education to inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail. Starting today, scientists and educators will volunteer to give lectures and arrange hands-on projects inmates can do to get them motivated for life outside.

One by one, cell doors at the county jail open to release about half the inmates lodged in a housing unit of about 64. They take a seat and turn their attention to Nalini Nadkarni, a professor of biology at the University of Utah and director of the U’s Center for Science and Math Education.

U Plans to Bring Science to Utah Prisons

Mar 19, 2013
Benj Drummond

The University of Utah wants to bring science and sustainability into the state’s prisons. The U is developing a project that would work with inmates on recycling, gardening, and composting among other things. It’s part of a trend toward environmental sustainability in prisons – the subject of a workshop at the university that starts Wednesday and runs through Friday. KUER’s Andrea Smardon talks to the scientist who’s working on the university’s new program, Nalini Nadkarni.