WEST BOUNTIFUL — Some estimates have the average citizen committing three felonies a day, said Kim Harwood, owner of Utah Sentencing Alternatives.
Harwood spoke to members of the Bountiful Breakfast Exchange Club last week concerning crime in Utah and the services his office provides.
Most club members were surprised that the average person was supposedly committing three felonies every day.
Harwood explained there are many things people do every day that they don’t consider criminal behavior, but are.
For example, each time a person takes their prescription pills out of the original bottle and puts them in another bottle or a pill reminder container, they are committing a felony.
Each time parents give one child antibiotics prescribed for another child, they are committing felonies.
Harwood said that 25 percent of the world’s inmates are incarcerated in the United States.
“In my opinion, we have more inmates because there are more laws,” he said.
Harwood is a former police officer who helped set up the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force. He has also served as a parole officer.
He has operated Utah Sentencing Alternatives since 2009. The Layton-based company works with defense attorneys statewide, providing services such as criminal risk assessment, comprehensive social profiles and aggravating/mitigating factor analysis.
The tools “provide decision makers with the information necessary for individualized (sentencing) outcomes,” according to the company’s website.
Harwood told Exchangites that the crime rate in 2010 was lower than it was in the 1960s, but that there are more inmates because of the heavy burden placed on the criminal justice system.
“They’re overworked without enough resources,” he said. That means people are “shuttled through the system.”
Often, he said a person is saddled with a criminal record for a “silly” mistake.
“All people make mistakes. Sometimes the only difference is they got caught,” Harwood said.
For more information check out the Sept.6 edition of Davis Clipper.