UT: Newly created sex offense management board looking into issues with Utah’s registry

Source: ksltv.com 11/2/23

SALT LAKE CITY — What might have looked like any other public meeting at the Utah Capitol Wednesday was actually a new step forward for the state, according to Dr. Michele Leslie.

“We’re one of the few states who have some kind of management board,” she said. “And it is a really big step for this state.”

Wednesday’s meeting was the second public meeting of Utah’s newly created Sex Offense Management Board.

The Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice hired Leslie, a doctor of psychology with years of experience in sex offense management, to serve as the board’s director.

“This is just a population that has kind of been, not so much pushed aside, but not really discussed or focused on until something potentially big happens … and then it might die down,” Leslie said. “The creation of this board is so that we can make sure that it doesn’t die down that we continue to move forward.”

The board is designed to be made up of 18 criminal justice stakeholders, including a victim advocacy representative and an individual previously convicted of a sex offense who has successfully completed supervision and treatment. The goal is to make sure everyone has a seat at the table as they craft policy recommendations for the Utah Legislature.

“We want to make sure that we’re implementing evidence-based policies — that we’re really listening to what not only the public concerns, hopes, and wants are, but also those who are in this population (of sex offenders) as well,” Leslie said.

The board’s early priorities include digging into issues with the state’s online Sex Offender and Kidnap Registry and sex offense treatment in Utah.

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As long as this risk based registry doesn’t retroactively add people back who have been released, is based on empirical evidence, and places a clear proof standard on the State to justify extended registration. And, otherwise follow the new ALI MPC.

They need to consult JohnDoeUtah for his thoughts on their efforts to make sure they truly are even keeled.

This is a big step in the right direction. Especially in a conservative state like Utah. Good for them. Hope it inspires more states to do the same.

Sorry, but I don’t consider this a “step in the right direction.” If they’re serious about implementing evidence based policies, they would be advocating registry abolishment. From a purely empirical standpoint, there is not one shred of evidence, anywhere, that the registry is an effective tool for its supposed stated purpose. Further, anything this board recommends that makes registry life even slightly more bearable will be disregarded by the legislature, particularly during election years.

Creating this board just created more government jobs that in the end, serve no purpose. Big news will be made of whatever they recommend the state implement, bigger news will be made if the state does so. No news will be made when their recommendations amount to nothing in terms of the registry’s reach, costs or the quality of life for 99% of those on it.

Comparing to the California SOMB doesn’t change my perception. First, the economic situations in California and Utah are significantly different. Second, as far as I know, Utah doesn’t have an internal organization like ACSOL or an advocate like Janice (as far as I know).

If the Utah board is going to be anything like the board in Colorado that we’ve read about so often with their problems, the people of Utah are screwed. I have no confidence in their ability to do the right thing.