- Q: What is the difference between "jail" and "prison?"
- A: Jail: In Utah a jail is usually a county-operated facility that houses offenders for a shorter length of time - often on misdemeanor convictions, or perhaps third-degree felonies. An individual is also sometimes held in a jail while he/she is charged and awaiting adjudication. A judge can sentence an individual to serve jail time alone, probation time alone, or a jail sentence with a probationary term at the end of it. The Utah Department of Corrections has no jurisdiction over the jails, but it does send some State inmates out to 21 of the county jails spread across the state through a program called "Jail Contracting." The State pays the counties a daily rate to house State inmates at those facilities.
Prison: In Utah, the term "prison" refers to a State-run facility. Some states also have Federal Prisons, but Utah does not. Utah has two State prisons: one in Draper (commonly called USP or Utah State Prison), and one in Gunnison (commonly called CUCF or Central Utah Correctional Facility). Prisons tend to house inmates for much longer periods of time. These individuals were sentenced by judges for more serious felonies. In addition to simply housing inmates, the prison system seeks to provide education, programming, work experience, and treatment to address underlying issues and help keep offenders from re-entering the prison system and further burdening the general public. In addition to the financial benefit to the community, keeping offenders out of the criminal justice system tends to help on a humane level, as families remain together and mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters have the opportunity to remain a constant support base for their loved ones.
- Q: What is the difference between "probation" and "parole?"
- A: Probationmeans the individual has not been sentenced or served prison time. A judge either sentenced the individual to be supervised by AP&P agents on probation, or they might have served some jail time and then been released onto probation under AP&P supervision.
Parole means the individual has been in prison and served a portion of his/her sentence. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determines when an offenders is adequately prepared to parole back into society under the supervision of AP&P. Both probationers and parolees are held to much stricter guidelines and rules than a general member of society, and their actions are scrutinized by law enforcement.
- Q: How much does it cost to house an inmate?
- A: It costs the State an average of $27,117 to house one inmate for one year. This includes meals, legal fees, maintenance, medical treatment, transportation, personnel, security equipment, programming and rehabilitation, as well as various other cost associated with incarceration.
- Q: What kind of programs are available in prison?
- A: There are many (consult the sidebar to the right for more in-depth information). The most fundamental, evidence-based programs practiced inside the Utah prisons include Sex Offender Treatment and Substance Abuse Treatment. Approximately one-third of Utah's prison population is composed of sex offenders, and nearly two-thirds have some underlying substance-abuse struggles. This does not mean that two-thirds of the population is incarcerated for substance-abuse issues, but they may have been convicted of other crimes, which they committed in effort to fuel a drug dependency (for example, a burglary, theft, or forgery as part of an effort to pay for drugs). In addition to these programs, inmates have access to high school education (not just GEDs), and vocational trade certification programs. The prison's Utah Correctional Industries affords the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience while an individual is incarcerated as well. Several offenders read books onto audio recordings and provide them to the State and Library of Congress so the blind can download them and listen. There are a wide variety of religious services available, though the State does not actively provide these. The Department of Corrections simply facilitates volunteers from various religions to provide spiritual needs to offenders. Additionally, inmates participate in less formal programs that run the gamut, including projects that enable them to crochet and paint toy cars for charitable purposes - usually to benefit needy children.
- Q: Why offer programs to inmates? Doesn't it just cost more?
- A: Approximately 95% of offenders will likely leave the prison at some point (anyone who is not sentenced to death, or anyone not given a Life Without Parole determination by the Board of Pardons and Parole). They will return to our communities and live in our neighborhoods. The Department of Corrections seeks to help ensure their success in the community and prevent the commission of new crimes and creation of new victims. The department attempts to reach this goal by helping each offender overcome their underlying struggles prior to release, as well as on through their re-entry to the community. The prison programs, Adult Probation & Parole agents, allied public agencies, non-profit community organizations, and the general public, ideally should help ensure individuals do not become stuck in a cycle of crime. By helping offenders get out of prison and stay out of the criminal justice system and away from a criminal lifestyle, taxpayers are saving money in the long-run. Everybody wins when an offender is reunited with his/her loved ones, as they once again work toward a productive lifestyle and contribute to society. The prison practices evidence-based practices, meaning it implements programs that have demonstrated success (such is the case, for example with the Department of Corrections' Sex Offender Treatment and Substance Abuse Treatment, which have been proven to lower recidivism rates).
- Q: Do inmates all get the same access and privileges?
- A: No. Inmates are each individually assigned classification levels, which are almost always based on the offender's behavior while incarcerated and only sometimes are based on the crime that led them to prison. At the most broad level, the classification looks like this:
Level Classification Conditions Maximum Security (Uintas & Hickory) 1 Death Row Highly structured/supervised, typically in cell 23 hours per day, restrained in the presence of non-inmates 2 Close Custody Typically confined to cell 21 hours per day, escorted by officers when leaving cell, restrained in presence of non-inmates Medium Security (Most units) 3 Inside Compound Must remain inside a perimeter fence, other factors vary based on specific privileges 4 On Property Must stay on prison property, but may go outside the fence for supervised work detail. Parole date required to reach this level. Minimum Security (Lone Peak) 5 Off Property With approval, may leave prison property with UCI work detail. Parole date required to reach this level.
Inmates are generally housed with other offenders who have similar personality types. If an offender disagrees with his/her classification, it can be challenged through a Classification Review Officer. Inmates also have varying privileges based on a matrix level prescribed by an Offender Management Review team, which looks at the inmate's prison accomplishments and/or failures. This impacts everything from the number of visits and phone calls an offender can make to how much out-of-cell time is allowed and how much they can access education, programming, and other services.
- Q: How do I search for offenders in UDC custody or under AP&P supervision?
- A: Use the offender search function on this website (click here).
- Q: How do I access the Sex Offender Registry?
- A: Use the registry link located on this website (click here).
- Q: Does the Department of Corrections supervise everyone on the Sex Offender Registry?
- A: No - only some. The registry is composed of individuals who are still under probation or parole supervision. The department does supervise those individuals through Adult Probation & Parole. However, the length of time an individual must spend on the registry is almost always much longer than the length of time they are required to spend on probation or parole. After an individual has completed probation or parole, he/she might still show up on the Sex Offender Registry, but the Department of Corrections at that point has no jurisdiction over the individual and can no longer supervise him or her. However, offenders listed on the registry must keep their information current with local police departments throughout the duration of their registry period. The local law-enforcement agencies can conduct compliance checks to determine whether the information an individual has registered is, indeed, accurate.
- Q: Does the prison offer tours?
- A: Availability is extremely limited. In most cases you will be referred to a public awareness panel, which allow the public to interact with inmates via Q&A sessions intended to educate the community about prison life and help prevent individuals from making poor decisions that might otherwise lead them to prison. Please contact us for more information, or call (801) 576-7065 in Draper and (435) 528-6000 in Gunnison. Normally broader tours of the prison facilities are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis for some specialized college groups (criminal-justice focused), or similar stakeholders in the public. The prison seeks to provide as much insight as possible to the public while also maintaining an appropriate level of safety and security in the institutions.
- Q: Can I visit an inmate at the prison?
- A: Yes, if you are on his/her approved visitation list and the offender has the appropriate visiting privileges allowing him or her to visit. Each facility has a designated visiting area subject to rules, regulations and procedures. If an inmate would like to visit with you, he or she can start the process by signing an application and sending it to you. You can also obtain applications online or from Visiting. After you've returned the form with all necessary documentation, a background check will be performed. You may be denied if the application does not include a signature, is missing documents, or if you have a criminal history. The inmate will be notified when you are approved or denied (the process usually takes 2-3 weeks for approval), and it is the offender's responsibility to let you know the status of the process along with what time and where to visit. Minor children under 18 are only allowed to visit when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or immediate family member possessing a notarized statement from the child's parent or legal guardian. You will need copies of birth certificates and/or adoption documents/court documents establishing legal guardianship, and you will need to fill out a Declaration of Minor Visitors form prior to visitation. Some inmates might not be eligible to have minors on their visiting list. Please consult the offender to find out whether he/she has those limitations. Please, click here for more information on visitation, including visiting schedules, dress codes, what you can bring, search procedures, etc.
- Q: Can I send mail to an inmate?
- A: Yes, inmates can begin receiving mail as soon as they come to prison. Simply address an envelope as follows (the first case for USP in Draper, the second instance for CUCF in Gunnison):
Inmate Name Inmate Name Offender Number Offender Number Utah State Prison CUCF P.O. Box 250 P.O. Box 550 Draper, UT 84020 Gunnison, UT 84634
Note: There are some restrictions regarding what an inmate can receive in prison. Please consult the Friends & Family handbook, available here, for more information on this and other topics.
- Q: Can I talk to an inmate on the telephone?
- A: Yes, but an offender's telephone privileges vary based on his/her privilege matrix level. There is a charge for all telephone calls, which is placed on your telephone bill and regulated by the telephone company. Calls are subject to being monitored and recorded, and inmates are not allowed to have cell phones. The State's portion of the revenues associated with these phone calls is used to supplement costs associated with inmate education. Again, for further details, please click here to consult the Friends & Family Handbook.
- Q: Will you tell me where an offender is housed?
- A: Not exactly. Due to security concerns, the Department of Corrections only releases information pertaining to which prison an inmate is housed (e.g. Draper or CUCF). If you have communication through mail, phone calls, or visiting with a particular inmate, he or she can release that information directly to you if they wish.
- Q: How do I find out how long an inmate will be in prison?
- A: The Utah Department of Corrections only houses offenders. It does not convict, sentence, or release them. For information about convictions or sentences, please contact the Utah State Courts. For information about parole, termination, or expiration of sentences, please contact the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. Utah practices indeterminant sentencing, meaning an offender is not told he/she will spend a precise amount of time in prison. Instead, for example, an offender might be given a sentence of 0 to 5 years in prison. It will then be up to the discretion of the Board of Pardons and Parole to determine when that offender will be released. Therefore, some offenders might have a release or parole date, while others might not.
- Q: Can an inmate purchase items while incarcerated?
- A: Yes. The prison has a commissary, where inmates can purchase additional convenience items (writing materials, food items, clothing, hobby crafts, etc.) Inmates can order commissary once per week using their inmate accounts, as they never possess actual cash. Inmates have property matrix levels that can be adjusted during their incarceration. So certain inmates may only access a certain number of items and might be restricted from obtaining certain other items from commissary or otherwise. The prison provides all necessary items for the incarcerated, which means if an inmate is considered indigent, he/she will have basic hygiene items provided free of charge.
- Q: What rules does someone on probation or parole have to follow?
- A: All the normal laws that any member of the community would have to follow, in addition to at least a standard set of conditions as listed below:
Note: There are also additional "Special Conditions" that are applied to individuals based on their unique circumstances. The Board of Pardons and Parole can add these conditions in the event of special concerns, or AP&P agents can request certain special conditions be added if they grow concerned an offender might be on the path toward violating terms of probation/parole or committing a new offense.
- When is the next execution? How is that decided?
- This is an unknown. Condemned inmates, their legal counsel, and the State and Federal courts generally determine this based on the appeals filed and decisions rendered regarding those appeals. When a condemned inmate has exhausted all appeals, a District Court judge will sign an execution warrant and assign a date at which the execution will be carried out. The Department of Corrections generally has approximately three months to prepare.
- What methods of execution are practiced in the State of Utah?
- Utah currently only sentences individuals to be executed by lethal injection. However, any condemned inmate sentenced prior to 2004 retained the ability to choose whether he would be executed by lethal injection or by firing squad.
- When was the last execution carried out?
- On June 18, 2010 - Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad.
- How do I find out how my inmate is doing?
- The best way to do this is to keep in touch with your loved one directly either via US Mail, by getting on his/her approved calling list, or by visiting in person. The Department of Corrections can divulge some very basic information about individuals in its custody, however it must comply with strict privacy rules regarding various details - particularly medical information. Therefore, it is most ideal if you establish communication with your loved one. This has a secondary impact of ensuring your loved one knows he/she has support on the outside urging him/her to succeed and start anew as he/she seeks to successfully reintegrate into society.