Monday, August 13, 2007

The Revolving Door at Salt Lake County Jail

SALT LAKE,UTAH-You may be surprised to learn of the type of offenders who will be automatically released upon their arrest due to jail overcrowding. According to the current Salt Lake County jail overcrowding policy, all misdemeanor offenders not charged with domestic violence are booked and then released from jail. Class A misdemeanor offenses include: intentional child abuse, lewdness involving a child, sexual battery, assault causing substantial bodily injury, stalking, negligent homicide, DUI involving bodily injury, voyeurism with a recording device, reckless endangerment, elder abuse and vehicle burglary.

This policy is carried out without any regard to the amount of bail the judge attached to the case, nor does it consider the likelihood that the defendant will voluntarily appear or whether he poses a risk of harm to the community.

This solution leaves our community with many violent offenders who are released from jail soon after being arrested by law enforcement. They are released regardless of their past criminal history or history of failure to appear for court hearings. This "revolving door" creates significant public safety concerns, especially to the victims of these crimes that rely on a court's representation that a warrant has been executed for the perpetrator.

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