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.