Support for Utah Bill SB 50: Giving Youth Who Commit Crimes a Second Chance

Feb 17, 2021Testimony, Former Prisoners

We support Utah Bill S.B. 50, which makes sure that people who commit crimes in their youth are treated proportionally to their age, even if the crime is discovered in their adulthood. It also keeps people who committed crimes in their youth off the sex-offender registry, which can essentially condemn a person to a life of poverty and exclusion from important aspects of society.

Here is our statement on this bill:

As we know, children and youth typically have different capabilities, mindsets, and motivations than adults. Because of this, we rightly treat them differently when it comes to criminal law. People who make mistakes in their youth, even serious ones, should not have to wear a scarlet letter for years, decades, or the rest of their lives if they have paid their dues as the law requires. The last thing we should want to do is condemn a person to a life of poverty and exclusion from important aspects of society because of mistakes committed before becoming an adult. Every person can change and deserves a second chance.

People who have been convicted of crime in Utah face about 1,274 collateral consequences. These barriers prevent many people who are trying to turn their lives around from gaining employment, finding suitable housing, receiving gov benefits, and more. This bill is good because it removes one of these barriers-the sex offender registry-for people who have made mistakes in their youth. It also requires the courts to treat them proportionally to their age when they committed the crime. We support this bill.

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