The mission of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole is to render just decisions by balancing victim needs, offender accountability, and public safety with regard to the length of incarceration, parole supervision, termination of sentence, commutation of sentence, and pardons.
The Constitution of the State of Utah creates the Board of Pardons and Parole, and delegates the power and authority of the State to the Board to determine whether, and under what conditions, persons committed to prison may be released, supervised, or returned to custody. Additional authority and structure are derived from statutory enactment by the Utah Legislature. (UCA Title 77, Chapter 27).
The Board functions as an independent state agency within the executive branch. The Board itself consists of five full-time members, with up to five pro tempore members available to act for full-time members, should such a need arise. Board members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, and serve staggered five-year terms. Board action takes place upon the concurrence of a majority of board members. The agency was created and staffed to assist the Board with the discharge of its constitutional duties.
SENTENCING IN UTAH
Prison sentences in Utah are indeterminate, meaning that imposed sentences are for a specified range of time, including a minimum and maximum time frame. The Legislature specifies the elements of, level of severity of, and applicable sentence for, each crime. When a sentencing court imposes a prison sentence following conviction, the court imposes the applicable indeterminate sentence. Currently, the typical indeterminate sentences in Utah are: 0-5 years for 3rd Degree Felonies; 1-15 years for 2nd Degree Felonies; and 5-Life for 1st Degree felonies. First degree felonies may carry a minimum sentence of between 3 and 25 years, depending upon the specific crime of conviction and applicable sentencing enhancements imposed by the court.
Once a person is sentenced to prison for the commission of a felony or Class A misdemeanor, the Board of Pardons and Parole has jurisdiction over that individual. When a person is sent to prison in Utah, the offender must serve the entire sentence imposed unless the Board acts to release the offender prior to the expiration of the sentence.