As Youth Go Back To School, New Laws Go Into Effect for Youth Justice System

Affiliate: ACLU of Utah
August 16, 2017 4:15 pm

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SALT LAKE CITY – Many youth across the state of Utah will be back in school next week. Several Utah non-profit organizations wish to remind these youth – and those who care for and about them – that positive changes have been made to Utah laws regarding the juvenile justice system.

These groups – which include Racially Just Utah, YWCA Utah and the Ogden Branch of the NAACP – have worked together to produce an informational brochure that outlines several of these important new developments. The brochure highlights many positive changes that were enacted with the passage of HB239 during the 2017 Utah Legislative Session, such as:

New caps on fines and community service hours for youth sentenced for various offenses;
New limits on the amount of time youth can be kept in juvenile detention or secure confinement; and
More alternatives to court appearances and out-of-home placements.

The brochure is now available to the general public for use and distribution. It can be downloaded at the websites of Voices for Utah Children (, the YWCA Utah (, Utahns Against Hunger ( and the ACLU of Utah ( Free print copies can be obtained by contacting Voices for Utah Children or the ACLU of Utah.

“We want to be sure that Utah’s youth, and the adults in their lives, are aware that there are new rules about how youth are to be treated when they come into contact with the juvenile justice system,” said Lincoln Nehring, CEO of Voices for Utah Children. “These new rules should result in better outcomes for youth who find themselves being disciplined at school or appearing in court, but these reforms will only succeed if community members know about them.”

The new brochure (also attached) is currently available in English, with translated versions soon to be available in Spanish, Somali, Tongan and Samoan.

This is an opportunity for parents, guardians, friends and counselors to be informed and knowledgeable about how the new law requires youth to be treated, in the juvenile justice system. If you are an adult who suspects that a young person in your care or community is not being treated lawfully, or want more information about the new laws, you are encouraged to contact one of these participating community organizations, or the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice (801-538-1031).

Here is a complete list of the organizations that have contributed to the creation of this informational brochure: Voices for Utah Children, YWCA Utah, Racially Just Utah, the Ogden Branch of the NAACP, Utahns Against Hunger, Utah Coalition of La Raza Educators for Social Justice, the Disability Law Center and the ACLU of Utah.

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