ST. GEORGE — A hearing seeking public comment on proposed changes to admission guidelines for who can be held in juvenile detention centers will be held in St. George Monday evening.
The Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services will hold the meeting at St. George City Hall, 175 North 200 E., from 6-8 p.m.
The amendment proposes three key changes to the way children are admitted to detention centers:
- Youth can be admitted for any class A misdemeanor against a person.
- Youth under age 12 can no longer be admitted unless they are charged with a violent felony offense.
- Youth can no longer be admitted for failure to appear at court hearings within the past 12 months.
Government officials will answer questions from community members attending the hearing.
Southern Utah Rep. Lowry Snow will be present at the meeting. Snow sponsored “Juvenile Justice Amendments,” designated as HB 239 in the 2017 legislature which was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert in March.
The bill brought sweeping changes to how youths are sentenced and punished for crimes. The legislation focused on home confinement for youth offenders rather than detention in an attempt to divert teens away from the system that legislation proponents said often creates a school-to-prison pipeline.
Also in attendance at the meeting will be Juvenile Justice Services directors Donovan Bergstrom and Reg Garff.
This will be the first of three such meetings. The following two meetings will be:
- Tuesday, July 11, from 7-9 p.m. | Salt Lake City Library, 210 E. 400 S. (Conference Room, Level 4), Salt Lake City.
- Wednesday, July 12, from 7-9 p.m. | Logan Library, 255 N. Main St. (Bridger Room), Logan.