Criminal and Family Law

Criminal and Family Law

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Is There An App for That?

Earlier this month mayoral candidate Mark Crockett offered his view on reducing repeat criminal offenders and saving the state a lot of money in the process.

Mr. Crockett detailed a plan for jail reform involving stakeholder meetings between government, experts and community officials. From those meetings, an improved data collection process would allow matching of inmates with programs like RealVictory to reduce recidivism.

In 2011, Utah violent crime declined by approximately seven percent — that’s certainly good news. Property crime is also down, and so are total arrest numbers. As criminal defense lawyers, we understand the impact that arrests have on individuals and their families. We work hard to keep our clients out of the system.

But crime and conviction means consequences. Mr. Crockett aimed his remarks at those incarcerated in jail — not prison. Sheriff Jim Winder points out dangerous felons are also housed in the jail and Salt Lake County adopted a criminal justice program four years ago that is working well. If statistics are to be believed, he may be on the right track.

Promoted by Mr. Crockett as potentially reducing recidivism by over 50 percent, RealVictory is a cognitive behavioral program using cell phones and automated messages to discourage repeat offenses.

While we live in the age of smartphones, friendly robocalls do not stack up against programs currently offered to reduce repeat offenses and improve quality of life for my clients like education, vocational and life skills training, substance abuse treatment and other mental health programs.

In legal defense and in programs that reduce recidivism, personal service counts. Is there an app for that? Perhaps not.

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