The Utah Department of Corrections is requesting from Utah lawmakers an additional $4.9 million to shift inmates to county jails. The state prison is over capacity, with the Board of Pardons and Parole starting early releases of prisoners in the past year. If the prison system stays over capacity for 45 days, state law would trigger an emergency release.
UDOC has also requested approval to build a 300-bed facility, similar to a halfway house, somewhere along the Wasatch Front to house parole violators short term instead of sending them back to prison.
A House bill banning Spice could make obsolete a patchwork of local ordinances recently adopted around the state. It would create penalties similar to those targeting marijuana, though it would not put spice on a schedule of controlled substances, allowing medical research on synthetic cannabinoids to continue.
The Legislature will also consider changes to Utah's capital punishment laws to limit the amount of stays of execution a death row inmate can receive. The proposed changes come after the June firing squad execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner, who spent 25 years on death row.