Utah Justice Courts

I found this article in the Ogden Standard Examiner.  The opinion of the writer is one that I have heard many times.  I see what the writer is talking about quite often in reference to "overly aggressive" prosecutions.  We don’t seem to care what happens to people incarcerated, at least, until one of our loved ones ends up there.

Publication:Standard Examiner; Date:Jan 11, 2008; Section:Opinion; Page Number:4A

Utah’s justice system needs repair

What’s wrong with the justice system?

Prosecutors are overly aggressive and seek convictions at any cost to further their careers, and different levels of law enforcement are abusive to inmates. The system has corrupt officers who hide behind their badges while breaking the law, and a judge who failed to recuse himself from a trial due to friendship with the victim’s family.

There are people who are innocent and are sent to prison, and people who have mental disabilities and need help but are sent to jail or prison without getting the help they need.

The state then asks for more federal funding, and our taxes are raised because a new prison needs to be built.

The problem is there is not one elected official who is willing to step up to the plate and recognize that there is a problem, nor do they use their position to promote a healthy, safe rehabilitation program within the prison or jail. They have the feeling that prison is a problem with no solution.

The temptation is always to look away, hoping the troubles inside the walls will not affect us.

Every day people go to prison, but the public knows very little about their conditions of confinement (rape, abuse by officers, infectious diseases, etc.) and whether they are being punished in ways that no jury ever intended. Unless the experience of incarceration becomes real through the confinement of a loved one, the people inside the confined walls are far removed from daily concerns.

Bonnie Terry

West Haven

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