Inmates who commit new crimes while in prison may find themselves spending more time in prison if a bill sponsored by Rep. Shirley V. Jensen, R-Salt Lake, passes as easily as it did in the House Judicary Committee.Comment on this story
When dozens of prisoners in the Central Utah Correctional Facility rioted in the summer of 1993, officials wanted to send a message to troublemakers. So they prosecuted 15 inmates on charges stemming from the riots and convicted them all.But the new sentences could be tacked onto the end of the sentences they were already serving, so the inmates probably won't spend any longer in prison than they would have originally. The Board of Pardons and Parole can consider the charges when contemplating early release, but they can do that without a conviction in court.
This bill will enable a judge to make new convictions run consecutively to old sentences, thereby discouraging inmates from com-mitting new crimes, those supporting the bill hope.
"This is not a mandatory sentence," said Mike Sibbett, chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole. "It's just presumption on the part of the courts . . . that it will be consecutive. It does make a difference on the date of expiration of (an inmate's) sentence. They have to be good longer."