Illegal Young man Spraying black paint on a Graffiti wall. (room for text)

Testimony in support of HB 239 (Juvenile Justice Amendments)

Testimony given by Derek Monson on Feb. 10, 2017, in support of HB 239 (Juvenile Justice Amendments) before the House Judiciary Committee of the Utah Legislature:

Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. My name is Derek Monson and I represent Sutherland Institute.

Sutherland Institute supports HB 239 because one of its major thrusts is to tap into and strengthen families to find community-driven solutions to problems of juvenile justice.

One of the temptations in criminal and juvenile justice policy is to view families as a problem, and subsequently to take the easier path of ignoring or going around families. But we think the right policy approach is a road “less traveled,”[1] which views families as a solution. That approach has the potential to find answers that are practical, because they work from the ground up within communities, and answers that are sustainable, because they don’t require unending allocations of taxpayer dollars.

We see HB 239 as reflecting this approach, and as a result its impact will be to strengthen families that need help, spend taxpayer funds more cost-effectively, and help children whose future should point to a life of success and happiness despite mistakes, not toward juvenile detention because of their mistakes.

We encourage you to support HB 239. Thank you.

[1] Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” 1916.