The Utah Department of Corrections is just a few months away from moving the prison population at the Utah State Prison in Draper to the new Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City. We have received recent questions from the incarcerated and their families regarding their physical property. As the date approaches and details are finalized, we are dedicated to providing information to the incarcerated to help them prepare for this move. In the meantime, here’s a short update regarding property of incarcerated individuals: Prior to the move to the new Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City, we are requiring all incarcerated individuals be at the approved property matrix for their particular level. Beginning in July 2021, we started posting signage in each section regarding this change. As we conduct cell searches we are also reminding incarcerated individuals of the upcoming move and property expectations. Much of what incarcerated individuals can take with them will be similar to what they now take with them when moving to a county jail as part of our Inmate Placement Program; however, we recognize that this is a different type of move, and so we will be allowing electronics and other items to be taken as well. A more detailed list will be announced in the coming weeks. Upon arrival at the new prison, inmates will be issued a hygiene kit, new clothing, sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and pin bags....

A number of individuals were promoted at Sergeant Pinning Ceremonies recently at the Fred House Academy in Draper and at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. Altogether, 30 of the 110 individuals who applied for sergeant passed the testing process. The process is both intimidating and difficult, including a written test, a practical test, a 15-minute panel presentation and interviews. "I can assure you that our process is not an easy process to promote in, so as everyone gets their stripes today and wears them, you should be proud," said Lieutenant Cory Rich at the ceremony on Monday. Spencer Turley, Division of Prison Operations Director, and Brian Nielson, Executive Director, also provided remarks at Monday's event. Congratulations to the following: Maxwell Bond Kaitlyn Smith Taylor Bender Christopher Jensen Brett Griffiths Jared Knighton Kayla Anderson Jordan Kearl Jeff Jensen Evan Pimentel Enoch Olsen Daniel Lancaster Cody Weyland Jay Neilson Justin Rogers Henry Clark Tammie Westerman Riley Averett ...

For the last several months, the commissary, which is a store operated by UCI that sells various products to incarcerated individuals, has experienced shortages of items and unusually inconsistent staffing.  UCI is working diligently with our vendors to purchase products and maintain commissary staffing. In the meantime, we would like to answer some questions we’ve received in kites and grievances to give you additional information on the delays. We understand the frustration any impact to commissary can cause and we appreciate your patience while we manage this issue. Please remember that policy recommends you write a kite to commissary to inquire about your order first, and if you cannot find a resolution a grievance should be your next step. Thank you again for your patience during these unusual times. Why does commissary have so many items out of stock? The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted nearly every aspect of the supply chain, or the system that includes manufacturing and transportation that gets items from where they are made to where they are going.  This is impacting UCI’s ability to get many items from our vendors. This is not just an issue for UCI. Stores across Utah and the country are in the same position. Because there are fewer items available, the cost of these items is also higher. What is UCI doing to reduce the shortage? We work with many wholesale vendors in order to get you the best price for the commissary items. We reach out to our vendors weekly to see what items they have available. If they do not have them in stock, we contact other vendors for the product.  Some people have suggested we go to local stores to find the items. Unfortunately, purchasing items from a regular store, like Walmart or Smiths, costs significantly more because they are not wholesale vendors. The costs for these items would be significantly more than the prices we have through our other vendors. How do we get our refunds after an item is out of stock? UCI works with the Finance department’s inmate accounting to issue refunds to your account as quickly as possible. We are processing refunds every day, so if you have not received a refund after two weeks, please let commissary know via Kite. If it is less than two weeks, we ask for your patience.  Because of the high number of credits that need to be issued, the refunds may be slower than normal. Why is commissary delivery disrupted? As you are aware, UDC follows health department guidelines for Covid-19 isolation, testing and quarantine. Unit lockdowns have included our commissary shop workers on occasion. We have worked to find other people willing to work in the commissary during the quarantines, and have used UCI staff members from different worksites to fill in when possible. UCI is doing everything possible to minimize the impact to the delivery schedule. ...

Due to public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, in-person hearings at either of Utah's prison sites have been suspended. Individuals will still be able to listen to live broadcasts as hearings occur at the following address: https://bop.utah.gov/hearings_live_stream. If you had planned on participating in a hearing in person, please contact our Victim Coordinator at 801-261-6464 to arrange an option to participate virtually. We will keep this ALERT updated....

In the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in Utah, in-person visiting has been suspended at both the Utah State Prison and Central Utah Correctional Facility. Officials with the Utah Department of Corrections do not anticipate that this will be a long-term suspension. If you have scheduled a visiting appointment, please do not show up. Our visiting team is attempting to make contact with those who have scheduled an appointment. As positive test results in the community have skyrocketed recently, so too have the number of cases increased among inmates and UDC staff members. Despite adhering to COVID-19 protocols based on CDC recommendations and in coordination with state and local health officials, COVID-19 is pervasive and still manages to find its way into UDC facilities. Several housing units at both facilities are currently on quarantine status. The latest strain — Omicron — is considered more contagious than prior strains. As prisons are considered a congregate living environment this oftentimes requires lengthier isolation and quarantine protocols then what is standardly seen in the community for both staff and the incarcerated. Please note that these measures are put in place with careful consideration and in close collaboration with state and local health officials. The Department will continue to provide regular updates on its website and on social media. https://corrections.utah.gov/covid-19-updates/ ...

Page updated 10/29/2021 Visit coronavirus.utah.gov for statewide information. See updates below in the "Latest Update" section for more information regarding outbreaks at the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. Have specific questions regarding COVID-19 and your incarcerated family member or friend? Please contact our hotline at 801-545-5505.   __________________________________________________________   UTAH RESPONSE: The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) is working collaboratively with state partners — including the Lieutenant Governor’s task force — to address Coronavirus in Utah. The safety of incarcerated individuals or those on supervision, along with our staff, volunteers and others who interact directly with our Department, is paramount. As Coronavirus cases in Utah continue to increase, please know that we have outbreak strategies in place, which include prompt medical care and testing, and quarantining or isolating staff or incarcerated individuals. These updates will be shared via this webpage and social media. For more information on the virus, and for state-related updates, please visit the website: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/. Learn more extensively about the many steps UDC has taken to ensure the safety and health of incarcerated individuals and those on supervision with the Department here: https://le.utah.gov/interim/2020/pdf/00002842.pdf In March 2021, the Utah Health Emergency Response Team (UHERT) visited the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison to review current COVID-19 operating procedures. You can see the report here: https://corrections.utah.gov/images/UHERT_Prison_Summary_2.pdf     __________________________________________________________     THE NUMBERS: Total Confirmed Offender Cases to Date by Location *State and county jail incarcerated individuals are tracked together and totals would need to be requested from each county jail.  **At this time, the University of Utah Hospital requires that any inmate being transported to a hospital for any kind of care to be tested for COVID-19. **Starting May 20, 2020, prison intakes will be limited to Wednesdays. These will include intakes from all county jails and from Adult Probation & Parole. In direct consultation with local health officials, it was decided that these individuals will be in a cohort together for two weeks, and will each be tested for COVID-19 within 24-48 hours of arrival. Those who decline to be tested will be placed in a designated, separate area for two weeks. Please note that this increase in testing each week will reflect a spike in the overall number of inmates tested at the Utah State Prison in Draper and possibly a marginal increase at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. Updated 10/29/2021    Total Confirmed Staff Cases: 529 Total Recovered Staff Cases: 511 Updated 10/29/2021   Vaccination Rate Percentages Utah State Prison in Draper: 88% Central Utah Correctional Facility: 80% **Please note that this number reflects the percentage of individuals who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been offered to all incarcerated individuals at the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, including all intakes. Incarcerated individuals who have not been vaccinated can request a vaccination by submitting an Inmate Care Request form (ICR), which is available in their housing units.  Updated 10/20/2021     __________________________________________________________     LATEST UPDATES:                                                                09/10/2021 The Utah Department of Corrections reports the death of a COVID-19 positive individual on September 9, 2021. The individual was 43-years-old and was hospitalized at the time of his death. Prior to hospitalization, the individual was housed at the Sanpete County Jail as part of the state's inmate placement program. UDC will continue to share written updates on deaths of individuals who were COVID-19 positive at the time of their passing or not considered recovered. However, the numbers will not be reflected in the public COVID-19 tracking sheet until the official cause has been determined by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner. The Sanpete County Jail currently houses 71 state inmates. 32 of these individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 with 15 of those individuals considered recovered.   09/03/21 COVID-19 quarantine and isolation protocols initiated at Oquirrh 1 and 2 facility As mass testing continues at the Utah State Prison in Draper, one individual has now tested positive in Oquirrh 1. Areas now on quarantine include the Oquirrh 1 and Oquirrh 2 facilities at the Utah State Prison, and the Ironwood facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. New intakes and transfers are quarantined as a precaution as well. UDC continues to work with state and local health officials regarding COVID-19 protocols. The Department continues to adhere to CDC protocols. As of August 18, 86 percent of incarcerated individuals at the Utah State Prison (USP) in Draper have been vaccinated and 76 percent at the Central Utah Correctional Facility (CUCF) in Gunnison. The vaccine has been offered to all incarcerated individuals at the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, including all intakes. Incarcerated individuals who have not been vaccinated can request a vaccination by submitting an Inmate Care Request form (ICR), which is available in their housing units. As a reminder, the Department provides on-site medical care through the Clinical Services Bureau, which operates infirmaries at both the Utah State Prison and the Central Utah Correctional Facility. The infirmaries offer comprehensive, on-site medical care where medical staff can treat or stabilize inmates needing health care. Mental health services are also available to incarcerated individuals as needed. The Bureau also contracts with outside hospitals and clinics for treatment of seriously ill inmates who cannot be properly cared for at an infirmary or require evaluation or care from a specialist. Any incarcerated individual who exhibits symptoms outside the resources of our medical providers will receive care at a nearby hospital. Our medical staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In areas of an outbreak our medical staff have an active presence on those units at least twice a day to check-in with incarcerated individuals. Individuals who are already medically compromised (outside of COVID-19), have standardly had a greater medical presence and are actively monitored. Any incarcerated individual that communicates any discomfort will be given access to medications required or any other treatment required. As a reminder, the only way to share an incarcerated individual's medical information with a family member is through an Authorization to Formally Discuss Health Information...

  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently introduced new rate caps to ensure that "rates for interstate and international phone calls are just and reasonable for all Americans."   In working with our provider, GTL, we anticipated that adapting to the new regulations would reduce our overall rates, which went into effect on October 26, 2021.   We have been made aware that some families rates should have remained the same but didn't. This may be due to a change in how FCC defines inter/intralata calls.   We’d first like to apologize for not publicizing that there would be a reduction in rates until after the changes went into effect.   Second, we are working with our provider, GTL, to ensure that costs have not generally increased for phone calls.   We will plan to provide an update tomorrow with details on the new rates.  ...

  The Utah Department of Corrections celebrated the 2021 Department Awards event Wednesday at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. More than 150 gathered at the event center to celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in their quest to make the corrections department one of the best in the nation. Jim Hudspeth, executive deputy director, led the presentation of the fallen officer table, followed by remarks from the Department’s executive director, Brian Nielson. "Credibility. It's something we do incredibly well in our community," he said. "Credibility is about doing good, being good and being good at what we do." Desmond Lomax provided the keynote this year. In addition to passing on career tips — "Don't retire three months before a pandemic," he joked — he highlighted the impact a person can have on another. "If you don't know what your impact is, then have the courage to understand what your impact is, whether it's asking your spouse, or at work," he said. "Ask, 'Am I impacting you in a positive or negative way.' Because if you can understand, then you can make the necessary adjustments." UDC awards chairpersons, Maria Peterson and Travis Knorr, presented the awards. A special video spotlight was given to the Executive Director Award recipient, the Civilian Employee of the Year and the Certified Employee of the Year.       Communications office, Sept. 20, 2021...

Incarcerated individuals housed in Timpanogos and Promontory got a couple of special visitors recently. Bob, an American kestrel, and Phoenix, a red-tailed hawk, made an appearance at the two facilities thanks to the conservation group The Peregrine Fund. Erin Katzner and Chris Parish showed off the two while being peppered with questions from attendees about the birds. Yes, the American kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America. It’s also one of the most colorful. No, red-tailed hawks are not the fastest raptor, that title belongs to the Peregrine falcon, which can hit about 240 miles per hour in a dive. Katzner said the reason for showing the animals to the incarcerated – and anyone else – is simple. “Hopefully, they will be inspired and help protect them in the wild,” she said. Communications office, Sept. 10, 2021...