[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U0BuCQYpRM[/embedyt] UPDATE: Learn more about how to set up your visit here. We are beginning the testing phase of the Utah Department of Corrections' video visitation system. We need your help to complete this testing phase. We cannot begin full-scale implementation until the testing phase is complete. In order to help us test, please do the following as soon as possible: ThrIVE Instructions: Step 1: Apply to be a Utah Department of Corrections Visitor Visitor Application Form & Renewal (PDF) The visitor may submit a completed visitor application form and a completed visitor consent form to Utah State Prison Visiting or Central Utah Correctional Facility Visiting. Visitors may submit applications for themselves and for minors. Once you have the forms, please complete the portion marked “Visitor Section.” Please attach the appropriate personnel documentation as described on the back of the application form, or as specified by visiting staff. Step 2: Email a copy of your government issued photo ID to uspvisiting@utah.gov (Utah State Prison in Draper) or cucfvisiting@utah.gov (Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison). Directions for attaching a photo ID:  Please take a picture of your photo ID with a cell phone. Make sure the picture is a close up of the entire ID. Once the picture is taken, please share it via email to uspvisiting@utah.gov or cucfvisiting@utah.gov, with the following information: 1. Incarcerated person’s full name, offender number, housing assignment 2. Visitor’s first, middle, last, and maiden (if applicable) name, email, and phone number 3. Nature of relationship to the incarcerated person (wife, mother, brother, etc.) NOTE: visitors cannot be reviewed or approved without the above information sent. Upon submission, your application will be reviewed and verified by the Utah Department of Corrections. Following, you will receive an email with details on how to schedule a call.   Communications office, Dec. 17, 2020...

To the families and friends of incarcerated individuals, We'd like to offer you the opportunity this holiday season to send your loved one a holiday gift bag through our commissary services. On our website is a step-by-step guide on how families can make an order online. There is a limited stock so when they are out that is it.  Incarcerated individuals will be allowed one bag per week till stock is gone. Holiday bags will start to be delivered the week of Dec.14 until they are gone. Learn more on how to order here: https://corrections.utah.gov/images/Family_online_ordering_holiday_gift_bags_steps.pdf...

Traditions have been one of the many casualties of 2020. But the Utah Department of Corrections refused to let one go, even in a pandemic. Despite the obstacles the year has brought, offenders and staff members at Utah State Prison were able to deliver hundreds of pumpkins to children with special needs at Jordan Valley and Kauri Sue Hamilton schools. “There were a number of challenges,” said Todd Barszcz, who oversees the Green Thumb Nursery Program for Utah Correctional Industries, a division of the Utah Department of Corrections. “We adapted to the situation we were in.” Some of those situations included losing workers due to an outbreak at the Utah State Prison’s Wasatch housing facility. Barszcz said others stepped in to make sure kids got their Sugar Pie and Autumn Gold pumpkins, varieties specifically grown by the incarcerated individuals for the students. “When we explained to them what the program was, they immediately got on board,” Barszcz said of the replacements. “They harvested them, washed them by hand and loaded them up.” In addition to the schools, the program also donates pumpkins to area hospitals that treat children. Besides the fruit donated to the schools – yes, a pumpkin is a fruit – the inmates grow a number of varieties, including exotics like Cinderella and Goblin, that are sold by UCI. The sales allow the program to be self-sustaining. The donation – including the months-long effort to grow the pumpkins from seeds – is one of the few areas where incarcerated individuals can give back to the community, Barszcz noted. USP’s own pumpkin patch expanded a little this year. While doing overtime work, Correctional Officer Virginia Parsons observed the program and its impact on offenders. “I saw that their spirits were higher,” she said. “They had a different demeanor. They were happier.” Once back at her usual post at the Timpanogos Womens Facility, she was part of an effort to get a similar program going there. That first batch from the Timpanogos patch was on display at Kauri Sue on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Parsons made an appearance to watch the students’ reaction and help them pick the perfect pumpkin. At both schools, students came to the “patch” guided by staffers. At Jordan Valley, students picked their favorite from those spread out around a grassy area at the front of the school. Many of them, from preschoolers to older students, showed their selections to Sgt. Justice, the eagle mascot of the UDC who made an appearance. “It brings a bit of normal to students in a year that’s anything but normal,” said Stacy Nofsinger, witnessing her first pumpkin patch as principal of Jordan Valley. At Kauri Sue Hamilton, a glass-enclosed atrium serves as the patch. Principal Courtney Titus, who was participating in her 10th patch, said some students will paint their pumpkins, while others will get to carve. Some pumpkins will be opened to allow students to feel the insides. “We will be using them to explain colors and for sensory interaction,” she said. But learning is secondary. Titus noted the students get very excited about the pumpkins. “Oh, yeah,” she said. “All day. And the ones that are verbal go home and tell their families, too." .    .    Communications Office, Oct. 30, 2020...

A letter signed by law enforcement officials in Utah -- including Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Mike Haddon -- has been released taking issue with an editorial cartoon recently published in the Salt Lake Tribune. The drawing depicts columnist Pat Bagley’s interpretation of “The Deep Hate.” It features a representation of a law enforcement officer staring at an X-ray image of himself with the doctor pointing to an internal image of a hooded figure and stating, “Well, there’s your problem.” The letter states that, "The illustration was clearly depicting hate within the law enforcement officer manifested as a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan. This description of law enforcement is insulting, inappropriate, and outright obscene." "We condemn the use of KKK imagery in the portrayal of Utah’s law enforcement professionals," the letter continues. The statement is also signed by the Commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety plus the presidents of the Utah Chiefs Association, the Utah Sheriffs Association and the Utah League of Cities and Towns. To view the full statement, please visit https://dpsnews.utah.gov/whats-really-inside-our-officers-a-desire-to-serve-and-pro.   Communications Office, Sept. 4, 2020...

Like a number of his counterparts in the healthcare world, Tony Washington has been searching for ways to control costs while improving patient care. Washington has a few additional wrinkles that others don’t have to deal with, though. First, he is mandated by law to provide his patients first-rate care. Secondly, most, if not all, patients would rather not be in his “network.” Washington is Director of the Clinical Services Bureau at the Utah Department of Corrections. He, along with his Deputy, Blitch Shuman, and their team, are responsible for providing services to the incarcerated population – fluctuating between 5,800 and 7,000 during the pandemic -- at the state’s two prison sites and in the county jails. Anything from dental fillings to treatment of chronic illnesses falls under their purview. It can be a challenge. Yet Washington and his team have excelled, recently earning the Governor’s Award for Innovation and Efficiency. The medical team used a multi-pronged approach to help improve services and reduce costs. And, the changes start at the beginning. Previously, inmates entering the Draper prison would be asked if they wanted a medical physical. In July 2019, 86 percent of new intakes declined. The Bureau shifted tactics and instead proactively scheduled exams for new intakes. The result? By December, the refusal rate plunged to less than 1 percent. The proactive approach to discover and prevent medical issues early on is expected to avoid more severe problems down the road. It is also seen as a more humane way to approach inmate care by encouraging good habits rather than trying to treat or reverse poor health. In addition, the Bureau is developing a tracking process to identify when and why inmate medical appointments were missed. This will allow the CSB to eliminate rework and avoid delayed medical attention. Next, the medical team decentralized operations, opening an infirmary at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. The change eliminated transports between CUCF and the infirmary at Utah State Prison in Draper. One of the Bureau’s biggest expenses targeted in the program were hospital costs. Striking in a new direction, officials contracted with the state’s Public Employees Health Plan – known as PEHP -- to verify accurate billing while also negotiating lower rates. The impact was immediate, with first quarter savings of approximately $350,700. Savings are reported to be more than $1.4 million in the previous 6 months alone, expecting even greater savings over the course of one full year. Along those lines, the Bureau also developed a strategic process for compassionate release requests. In 2018, the CSB had three compassionate releases. In the first half of 2020, there have been 29. Such releases allow inmates with significant medical issues to leave incarceration with dignity. It also provides the state an appreciable savings in healthcare when those released can access other forms of medical coverage. Notably, these have all been achieved with no negative impact to public safety. Challenges remain, with the great unknown being the ongoing pandemic. Fortunately, the Utah Department of Corrections has been able to keep COVID-19 out of the general population.   Communications Office, Aug. 26, 2020...

Few doubt that going to prison can be challenging. Few realize, however, that leaving prison can also be daunting. As part of an effort to help offenders successfully transition back into the community, the Utah Department of Corrections offers the Real Transition program. Originally taught at Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, the program is now also offered at the Utah State Prison in Draper. And who’s teaching may be a bit of a surprise: Inmates. “(Inmates) get more out of it with their peers teaching,” said Valerie Worrall, a UDC case worker based at Utah State Prison. “And it’s easier for them to teach. They have credibility.” The concept of Real Transition is fundamental. Programming Lt. Matt Barrett explained that offenders focus on themselves in five areas: physical, spiritual, financial, emotional and social. Utilizing work books, journals and discussions, they explore personal issues. “They write smart goals towards a successful release,” he said. “Then volunteers will critique them and refine them. It helps offenders have a solid release plan.” Sounds straightforward, until a pandemic is factored in. In addition to working with inmates on goals, volunteers also helped monitor the courses. With volunteering on hold – and movement within the prison itself limited – a little creativity was needed. On this day, Worrall monitors the class remotely via computer. Her image is shown on a screen in the classroom while Jason Pedersen leads the discussion. Barrett is in the room next door. It is the new normal for teachers and students, who have already become accustomed to the setup. Pedersen is back to his biggest challenge  – enticing attendees to participate. “I’ve got to get them to open up and discuss things. It’s not easy in this environment,” he said, gesturing with his eyes to the facility.  “They’ve got to feel safe.” It appears to be having an impact for Lipine “Kimo” Lealiiee. He said his work in the class has helped him “mentally and physically.” “I want to better myself,” he said, “and learn how to control my way of thinking and acting.”   Communications office, July 16, 2020  ...

The Serving Time Cafe, operated by Utah Correctional Industries, a division within the Utah Department of Corrections, has announced they are permanently closing operations effective immediately. "Out of concern for the ongoing health and safety of the Utah Department of Corrections staff and the people incarcerated in our facility, we have come to the difficult decision to permanently close the Serving Time Cafe," said Maria Peterson, Director of Utah Correctional Industries. "For more than 10 years, the Serving Time Cafe has contributed to the UCI mission, providing real-world work experiences for incarcerated women and teaching them valuable skills in food preparation and customer service." Located adjacent to the Utah State Prison in Draper, the Cafe first opened in December 2007 to serve quality food to both staff, and families and friends of visiting inmates. The cafe helped serve as a bridge between the community and the prison, giving members of the public a unique opportunity to see firsthand how UCI prepares people for reentry into the community following prison. "We want to sincerely thank our regular customers and the local businesses who employed many of our former cafe workers after release," Peterson said. "Your support of the cafe and UCI has made a positive difference in the lives of many people. Jobs associated with the Cafe for both staff and inmates will be absorbed into other operations within Utah Correctional Industries. The Cafe will also not serve as a feature at the new Utah State Correctional Facility being built in Salt Lake City. To express our gratitude, below we've shared the recipe for our famous peanut butter bars!   Peanut Butter Bars: CREAM TOGETHER: 1 1/2 C. Peanut Butter 1 1/2 C. Butter 1 1/2 C. Sugar 1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar 4 Eggs 1 TBS Vanilla THEN ADD: 3 C. Flour 1 TSP Salt 1 1/2 TSP Baking Soda 3 C. Oats DIRECTIONS: Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on top and let cool Frost FROSTING: 1 C. Butter 1/2 C. Cocoa Powder 4 C. Powdered Sugar 1 1/2 TSP Vanilla Add milk to consistency desired Communications Office, May 19, 2020...

Midway through March of this year, Utah Correctional Industries had produced a grand total of zero face coverings in its history. By April 24, UCI had made 60,000 face coverings. By the end of May, that number could hit 130,000. That’s how quickly the arm of the Utah Department of Corrections was able to develop a face cover prototype, get it approved, then assemble an army of inmates to sew the face coverings for state agencies and local hospitals. “It took a couple of weeks to put a line together,” said Jesse Gettler, production manager for UCI’s sewing shop at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. “We had to gear up and get materials ordered. Once we did, it was a great team effort.” “Team” being the operative word. At one time, the shop was staffed by up to 100 inmates, pulled from other work areas to meet the need. “We asked everyone to work extended hours and they stepped up,” added Gettler. “Both inmates and staff, because (officers) had to stay late as well.” For a number of offenders, the project was more than work. It was a chance to help. “It's terrible that it took a pandemic, but we're grateful for the opportunity to give back,” said Michael Kitteridge, who works in the sewing shop at CUCF. “I like . . . being a part of the cure.” Kitteridge also highlighted the efforts of the correctional staff at CUCF, noting they put in the extra effort as well. “They're just as motivated as we are,” he said. “They're taking time away from their family. It shows that we're all in this together.” Gettler said now that the production line is up and running, they have scaled back on hours and staff, but still expect to make 10,000 face coverings a week. Officials will assess the need for more face coverings in several weeks. “If requests keep coming in, we’ll keep producing,” he said.   Communications Office, May 7, 2020...

In collaboration with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, and support from the Utah Governor’s Office, the Utah Department of Corrections is initiating some early releases to create capacity within correctional facilities as confirmed cases of COVID-19 increase throughout the state. At this time there are no confirmed cases within the UDC facilities among either staff or inmates. The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) is making referrals to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole (BOPP) for release of incarcerated individuals, who are already within 90 days of their scheduled release date and have an approved address. "The Board shares the heightened concerns of advocates, loved ones and corrections professionals for the health and safety of incarcerated and community-based offenders during the current COVID-19 outbreak,” said Dennis Moxon, director of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. “Board staff are working closely with UDC to identify incarcerated persons whose early release would not jeopardize their successful completion of evidence-based programming or compromise public safety.” Regardless of the approach applied, decisions in all Board matters will continue to be made available through the Board’s online hearing decisions search function at https://bop.utah.gov/index.php/hearings-top-public-menu/search-hearings. Notice of the Board’s final decisions in these matters will also be issued as Board Disposition Orders, which will be forwarded to each offender through their UDC Case Manager. At this time, approximately 80 referrals for these cases have been made to the BOPP by the UDC, and it’s anticipated that more will be released over the next month. From there, UDC and BOPP will collaborate to evaluate the situation and whether the process needs to be continued. Any individuals granted release through these reviews have already been granted release dates and would otherwise be released to the community within the next few weeks. “Our staff are dedicated to ensuring public safety, and have been working in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Utah Governor’s recommendations in order to release offenders safely, and provide a secure and healthy environment for those we supervise,” said Mike Haddon, executive director for the Utah Department of Corrections. “We’re working through an evolving situation, and we will continue to reevaluate our processes as the situation develops.” These releases will begin April 2, and in a continued effort to limit the size of gatherings, release days will now be held twice a week with COVID-19 prevention protocols in place. Other efforts by UDC in collaboration with BOPP and the Utah District Courts include revisiting the supervision of low-risk offenders on probation or parole and those who may have earned early termination by statute or guidelines to determine if they qualify for early release. Additionally, we continue to review protocols related to releases of offenders from Community Correctional Centers who meet certain criteria, which include evaluating public safety risk, having an approved address, and completing sufficient programming if a condition of their supervision. The Board of Pardons and Parole is also making efforts to respond to COVID-19. For more details on those efforts, please visit their website. To find out if an offender has a scheduled release date, please utilize the search decisions function on the BOPP website at bop.utah.gov.   March 26, 2020...

Denise Druce leads inmates in a Yoga class in the Wasatch gym at Utah State Prison.   As the two dozen or so men put their bodies into positions that for some may feel awkward or unnatural, Denise Druse reminds them – constantly – to forget what many learned as young athletes. “Don’t push through the pain!” she calls out, repeating the mantra over and over. (She concedes later that the sentiment is “very prevalent in this gym.”) Her voice easily carries in the vaulted, antiquated building, lit primarily by pale winter light streaming through a bank of windows raised high above the floor. They are surrounded by the usual accessories found in such places: weights, exercise machines – and correctional officers standing watch. This is yoga, prison style. “Power yoga,” says Druce, who began the program just five weeks ago in the Wasatch section of the Utah State Prison. “At first, I started to bust their tails to get their attention. Now, I’m dialing it back. But they bring that same intensity to soft yoga.” Druce operates Yoga Assets, which trains yoga instructors. She is also president of YogaForward.org, a non-profit that is sponsoring 10 inmates at the facility to become class leaders. The program follows a similar one she has been teaching for several years at the Timpanogos Womens Facility located less than a mile down the road. But while the programs are similar, Druse says the students are not. Once the class starts at Wasatch, there is no chatter among the attendees. No easy smiles. While following Druce’s admonition to listen to their bodies, the participants are laser focused on their tasks. The room is nearly silent, a shift from the usual squeak of sneakers during basketball or the clanging of weights on the floor. When Druce rings two tiny chimes at the end of the session, they fill the room with sound. And yet, many say that it is a positive environment and at the end of the class, they feel a change. “Someone invited me (to the class), and afterwards, I felt different the rest of the day,” says Erik Harding. “So, I kept coming back.” For Rodney Liti, it was a chance to expand his workout routine – at first. “I wanted to find an alternative way to exercise and get stretched out,” he says. And now? “I feel more in tune, more balanced spiritually, emotionally and physically. I love this class.”   Public Information Office, Jan. 30, 2020 ...