SALT LAKE CITY — Qualifying low-level offenders could undergo job training instead of serving jail time under a pilot program that would be expanded under HB106, which sailed through the Senate Education Committee on Monday.
Last summer, Terryl Warner, director of victim services for the Cache County Attorney’s Office, created a small pilot program called Cache Achieve to give low-level offenders an opportunity to undergo certificate or job training at Bridgerland Technical College as an alternative to serving jail time.
The program also requires participants to undergo counseling and work with the Department of Workforce Services' Work Success program, which prepares people to seek and compete for jobs.
Participants have to cover the costs of the training program themselves, although some students may qualify for government grants or scholarships.
HB106, sponsored by Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, seeks about $200,000 in funding to cover administrative costs. An earlier version of the bill indicated prosecutors would oversee program participants, but the legislation was amended to include other employees such as social workers.
Kim Cordova, executive director of the Utah Commission on Crime and Juvenile Justice, spoke in support of the amended legislation but said it must have a reporting component to assess the effectiveness of the pilot.
— Marjorie Cortez
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