2022 Bills

HB 412: Rewarding Those Who Prevent Recidivism

This bill passed the house 67-0 and passed the Senate 27-0.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

States across the county have often adopted policies that neglect to tackle the problem of recidivism — the tendency for a convicted criminal to re-offend — within their criminal justice systems. In fact, many states have simply adopted a “lock them up and forget about them” approach.

This approach has immense consequences for not only the individuals exiting the criminal justice system but also for communities in which these individuals must re-enter. By not tackling recidivism and stripping these individuals of any support needed to reacclimate effectively into their communities, the chance for repeat crime increases and community safety drops.

However, Utah has begun to rethink its policies surrounding how the state combats recidivism rates. This is a welcome change as these new policies will help save taxpayer dollars, increase public safety, and decrease the chances of someone re-offending and re-entering the criminal justice system.

House Bill 412, sponsored by Representative Karianne Lisonbee, is one such policy that could become law in this legislative session. This piece of legislation rewards keeping those on parole out of prison.

HB 412 would address the failures of traditional probation with a focused approach that’s worked for centuries: money.

Specifically, this bill creates the Adult Probation and Parole Employment Incentive Program. This program would be tasked with distributing a $2,500 incentive payment for each additionally employed parolee above the baseline employment rate, and a $2,500 per person who completes probation or parole and has held a job for at least the entire six-month period before completion to the Department of Correction and to adult probation and parole regions.

If recidivism rises in a region, then no employment incentive payments are authorized for that region.

The bill would reward regions with financial compensation for probationers who stay out of trouble. This incentive would create a desire to rapidly decrease recidivism and rapidly increase public safety in communities.

Incentivizing probation systems to keep probationers out of prison is an excellent model because everyone wins.