On the last day of Utah’s legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that will bring sweeping change to how youth are treated in the juvenile justice system.
The bill limits the amount of time youth can spend in detention centers, and it would put a cap on fees and service hours that a juvenile judge can order.
The legislation is the result of a six-month study by the Utah Juvenile Working Group, who wanted to focus on early intervention and keeping low risk youth offenders in their homes instead of detention centers.
Many in the education community opposed the bill, arguing that the bill saddles them with creating services that don’t currently exist with no additional funding. The bill awaits a signature by Governor Gary Herbert.