Hillyard: Utah justice system improving efforts to treat mental health

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Some justice reform laws approved by the Utah legislature this year will be going into effect October 1st. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says he feels they will be real improvements to the system.

Hillyard says there will be more emphasis on treatment whenever possible, rather than locking offenders up. An example is cases where mental health problems are involved.

“It’s a miracle, in my mind, what’s happened with mental health treatment in the last 30 years,” exclaims Hillyard. “We now have medications, we now have ways to treat people like we never had before.”

One area Hillyard feels strongly about that when comparing treatment to incarceration, is what is happening in the local justice system.

“I really want to compliment Judge (Kevin) Allen here in Logan for having a Mental Health Court,” he continues. “Judge (Angela) Fonnesbeck is continuing the one in Juvenile Court. I think these are really great tools that we can address mental health issues, mainly with medications that have been discovered that can help people live normal lives.”

He says that would not be enough if other people were hurt by a crime that had been committed by the offender.

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