Paris Hilton came back to Utah on Tuesday to join Gov. Spencer Cox in a ceremonial bill signing of a bill to enact more regulations on Utah’s “troubled teen” centers — a new law that Cox signed last month to set new rules for the industry for the first time in 15 years. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Paris Hilton returned to Salt Lake City on Tuesday to join Gov. Spencer Cox in a ceremonial bill signing for a law placing more regulations on Utah’s “troubled-teen” centers for the first time in 15 years.
The Legislature approved SB127 in early March, less than a month after Hilton came to Utah’s Capitol Hill to give emotional and graphic testimony in front of a panel of state senators.
Cox signed the bill March 22, but Tuesday he held a ceremonial signing with Hilton to highlight the new law. It seeks to put more government oversight on Utah’s youth residential treatment centers by requiring instances of physical restraints and involuntary confinement to be documented and submit monthly reports to the Utah Office of Licensing. It also bans chemical sedation and mechanical restraints unless authorized, and requires at least four inspections each year, announced and unannounced.
“There are some amazing facilities out there that really perform critical services to families and youth,” Cox said. “Unfortunately, there are also some horrific stories.”
The governor thanked Hilton for “sharing her own story very bravely and vulnerably and helping to shine a light on some of the bad actors and some of the bad things that have happened in the industry.”
In a Feb. 8 Senate committee hearing, Hilton described how she experienced “unconstitutional, degrading and terrifying” abuse in the 1990s at Provo Canyon School at the hands of staff who she said forced her to take medication that made her feel “numb and exhausted,” watched her go to the bathroom and shower, and threw her into “solitary confinement” in a room she described as “covered in scratch marks and smeared blood with no bathroom.”
Hilton has embarked on a nationwide push to enact more regulations on troubled-teen residential treatment centers like Provo Canyon School, both in and out of Utah. The weight of the testimony from her and others baffled lawmakers, leaving some incredulous as to how such “disgusting” abuse of children had persisted for decades inside these youth facilities without accountability.
“No child should experience abuse in the name of treatment,” Hilton said at Tuesday’s ceremony, thanking Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Pleasant Grove, for sponsoring the bill.
Hilton called the new law “a big step toward systematic change.”
“It means the world to me,” she said.
Hilton’s testimony in front of Utah’s Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee came after she talked about the abuse she says she suffered at the Provo Canyon School in her documentary “This Is Paris” released last year.
Ahead of the documentary’s release, Hilton told People magazine her parents sent her …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News
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