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Thinking outside the cellblock: Salt Lake County aims to free jail space by more...
Thinking outside the cellblock: Salt Lake County aims to free jail space by more counseling
What if jail weren't the first stop for a junkie caught swiping someone's credit card to support a heroin habit?
What if a mentally ill man, busted for urinating in public, could get treatment before society sticks him in a cell?
And what if taxpayers could dodge the cost of adding more jail beds -- such as the 184 bunks scheduled to reopen at Oxbow early next month -- by helping nonviolent offenders defeat the demons of addiction, psychosis and homelessness, which so often drag them into the clogged corrections system?
Salt Lake Countycould be headed toward such an evolution in criminal justice, one that would channel more low-level lawbreakers into counseling and therapy, rather than cellblocks and courtrooms, thereby unlocking scarce jail space for offenders who deserve hard time.