Utah Department of Corrections

BYU Football's Visit to the Prison on Rivalry Game Eve

The BYU Football team held a fireside inside the Draper Prison's Promontory facility and spoke to inmates in the ConQuest substance-abuse treatment program on the eve of the big rivalry game with the University of Utah. The event has occurred for the past 4-5 years in large part due to the efforts of a prison religious volunteer, who coordinates with the Cougars. The event was voluntary, so inmates could choose to attend or not to attend. There are upwards of 1,300 volunteers at the prison - many of whom provide religious services to inmates so the state does not wade into administering religion to those in custody.

The event is meaningful each year, as the football players share stories of redemption and overcoming personal trials in life. The emotions among those inmates, volunteers, and staff in the audience are always palatable. This year's event took a bit of a different turn due to the well-publicized struggles that were underway with one particular BYU player, who was suspended from playing due to violations of the school's honor code. During the event, an inmate implored the coach to let that player play. An impromptu speech followed, during which the player spoke of the importance of accountability and redemption.

While this particular exchange garnered all the subsequent local and national media attention, the department is appreciative of its volunteers, staff, and the BYU Football team who go out of their way to make this a motivational and inspiring event each year. Other players received less notoriety, but had no less compelling stories to share with the group. We appreciate each opportunity to inspire the offender population and nudge them toward adopting a personal desire to better themselves. We likewise appreciate the opportunity to reflect on our own personal struggles with a focus on improving ourselves and keeping an eye toward the future.

 

Whether you wear Ute red or Cougar blue, this was a great opportunity, and the department extends its gratitude to the BYU football team.

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