- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that aims to cut the size of Utah’s prison population and related costs.

Herbert said in his State of the State address Wednesday night that half of all Utah inmates return to prison within three years of release and that’s a problem.

Herbert and the state criminal and juvenile justice commission released a package of recommendations to address the issue in November.

Among the 18 recommendations is a proposal to make some first-time drug possession charges a misdemeanor instead of a felony crime.

Herbert has stopped short of endorsing that specific proposal and says he needs to consider all the recommendations.

Without changes, the number of inmates is estimated to grow 37 percent over the next two decades.

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