Q1 Please provide constituents your campaign contact information.
Name Sim Gill
Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number 801-803-2915
Q2 Please include any campaign website or campaign social media information below.
Q3 Topic 1: Reducing Utah Incarceration RatesUtah has made efforts to reduce incarceration through legislation passed in 2015 known as the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). The legislation aimed to reverse Utah’s trend of prison population growth at six times faster than the national average. Now law, the JRI changed sentencing and parole guidelines and created program oversight to reduce incarceration and recidivism.As County Attorney, you will have the power to change office policy on many aspects of criminal prosecutions. For example, recently elected Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner issued a memorandum to his staff outlining when to decline certain charges, when to offer diversions, and guidelines for plea offers and sentencing arguments. The policy changes are an acknowledgment of and an effort to end mass incarceration.
How will you incorporate the JRI’s goals of reducing incarceration and recidivism into your local County Attorney policies?
I have advocated for criminal justice reform for some twenty years. Beginning in 2000 as the newly appointed City Prosecutor I helped start multiple therapeutic justice programs. I was also cross designated as a Deputy District Attorney at the time and I helped start the very first mental health court in the state both as a misd. and felony court. We were able to reduce recidivism for the mentally ill from 72% down to 22% by focusing on treatment rather than merely punishment. Most recently, I helped start the very first Veterans Court in the 3rd District as well as supported drug court and full medicaid expansion to assist with treatment for our jailed population. On any given time almost 60% of our county jail population would benefit from full expansion. I have worked collaboratively with CCJJ, CJAC and various community leadership to expand alternatives to incarceration where appropriate.
Q4 Do you support alternatives to incarceration?
Q5 If yes, what alternatives to incarceration do you support?
Other (please specify):
I support multiple programs from community service to problem solving programs. I have advocated restorative justice philosophy since 2000. I believe that we need every tool at our disposal to make a systemic impact.
Q6 Topic 2: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice SystemThe Justice Reinvestment Initiative’s 2017 Annual Report found that the percentage of minorities newly committed to prison has increased from 34% to 43% since 2015, the year the JRI became Utah law. Before that time, the percentage of newly committed minorities had been stable at 34%. (Note that 2016 census estimates show that minorities only account for approximately 21% of Utah's population).
What will you do as the County Attorney to prevent the racial disparities noted in the JRI's Annual Report from happening in your county?
The most recent studies further exemplify that while JRI has reduced incarceration rates for Caucasians by some 22% the rate of minority incarceration increased by almost identical rates. This is indicative of systemic and institutional bias at our sentencing schemes. We must continue to be vigilant. As the SLC Prosecutor I opened our office to sentencing and process review. For example, while minorities had disproportionate contact with the police the offers we made were statistically indistinguishable in the outcomes. This continues be persistent problem that will require further training and commitment. As a minority I am committed to this.
Q7 Do you believe that racial disparities currently exist in your county’s criminal justice system?
Q8 Topic 3: Prosecutorial Misconduct Prosecutorial misconduct has been a concern nationally, which has led to the formation of Conviction Integrity Units in many prosecutor offices to review allegations of misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct has also been a concern in Utah where the Board of Utah County Commissioners has considered forming a prosecutorial oversight committee.
As County Attorney, what will you do to ensure that your office is transparent and accountable to accusations of prosecutorial misconduct?
I have open office access as a part of my administration. I give access to citizens every Friday to raise issues and concerns about cases, policies, issues etc., the office belongs to our community and I am merely a temporary caretaker. I am also in the process of creating a CIU Conviction Integrity Unit.
Q9 Do you believe that claims of prosecutorial misconduct should be handled by an internal review board, such as a Conviction Integrity Unity?
Q10 Do you believe that claims of prosecutorial misconduct should be handled by an external review board, like the one proposed in Utah County?