Utah Department of Corrections

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Wasatch is the oldest facility at the Utah State Prison. It has housed inmates since 1951, when the State prison was moved to Draper from the site in Salt Lake City where Sugar House Park now sits. Since then, the prison complex has gradually expanded and now houses approximately 4,300 inmates at capacity.

Wasatch houses medium-security inmates as is where the prison’s infirmary is located. It also includes the Culinary, barbershop, library, a Family History Center, a non-denominational chapel and a recreation gymnasium. In total, Wasatch has capacity for nearly 800 inmates.

Wasatch A West (pictured below left) serves as short-term, overflow housing for Receiving and Orientation, located in Uinta 5. The unit can house 95 offenders at capacity.

Wasatch A East (pictured below right) can house 95 offenders at capacity.

Both sections are three-tiered housing units that use the old manual “Johnson Bar” system, brought from Sugar House, seen at Alcatraz.

Offenders in A East are single-celled, meaning they do not have cellmates. Inmates'  time out of their cells and other allowances vary based on privilege level and classification. Inmates can earn and lose privileges, like other inmates in the prison system. They have the ability to move around the facility to engage in work, attend educational courses, life skills classes and engage in other programs. 

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Wasatch Baker Block is a medium-security housing area inside the Wasatch building. Baker Block can house 192 offenders at capacity.

(NOTE: This section was closed in October 2015 due to a staffing shortage.) Wasatch B-North is a medium-security housing area geared for inmates with lower IQs or those who have learning impairments. The purpose of segregating these inmates from the rest of the population is two-fold: first, to ensure they get the appropriate assistance they need to improve their lives, and second, to keep them away from other inmates who might prey on or take advantage of them. B-North can house 28 inmates.

(NOTE: This section was closed in October 2015 due to a staffing shortage.) Wasatch Charlie Block houses 68 offenders at capacity. Inmates generally seek to be housed here because of the multitude of educational and programming opportunities. Inmates in this section have a relatively high degree of flexibility in terms of movement and privilege allowances. Many serve as educational mentors to other inmates. Inmates in this area often take part in distance learning, where they may continue their education through mail-in school programs. Inmates must be very well behaved and follow rules closely to be housed here.

D-Block (sometimes called “Dog Block”) houses 192 inmates at capacity. Many inmates who have undergone sex offender treatment or who are awaiting entry to the sex offender program are housed here, though not every inmate in this unit is a sex offender. The prison attempts to keep sex offenders separate from inmates who might attempt to harm them because of their crimes, which are often looked down upon even among the inmate population.

 

 

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The Timpanogos Women's Correctional Facility (pictured in the lower portion of the photo above) is located at the Utah State Prison site, but all of its buildings are separated from the male facilities in order to minimize management issues that would be inherent with adjacent housing.

Many of our correctional officers and other staff who work with female offenders have gone through nationally certified Gender Responsive training programs that teach them how to address issues specific to women.This is particularly true of staff working at Star 4, home to the ExCell program.

Timpanogos includes five buildings arranged in a star shape encircling an outdoor recreation yard. The buildings are referred to as Star 1 through Star 5. Female inmates are housed in Star 1 through Star 4, which also have recreation yards.

Star 5 does not have any housing units; it is where the gymnasium, library, classrooms and culinary are located. Timpanogos has capacity for up to 570 inmates.

Star 1 and Star 2 house general population inmates who have access to programming, education and other activities based on their privilege levels.

Star 3 is the maximum-security unit for female inmates and is used for women whose behavior requires them to be separated from others for safety and security reasons. Inmates are able to move to other housing units when their behavior improves. The unit has capacity for 138 women. Utah has no women on death row.

Star 4 houses the ExCell substance abuse treatment program, which is similar to the HOPE and Con-Quest programs for male inmates. ExCell is based on a residential, therapeutic community model designed to help women overcome substance abuse issues and resolve trauma (physical and emotional abuse) that often underlie criminal behaviors. An analysis of the program found that women who complete the ExCell program are nearly 30 percent less likely to return to prison than inmates who do not. The program typically takes 11 months to complete.

 

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The Promontory facility houses male offenders actively participating in the substance abuse treatment program called "Con-Quest." In this structured, therapeutic environment, offenders (called residents here) are separated into dormitories where they function as teams. Each dorm has a unifying mascot and logo. As part of the structured environment, residents are expected to hold one another accountable for behavior and actions. 

A relay system allows residents to report their fellow residents’ misdeeds or shortcomings. This type of behavior is encouraged in Promontory, while in other areas of the prison it might be frowned upon by fellow inmates. For example, if a resident fails to wipe down a sink after using it, one of his dorm mates might report him to a peer committee that imposes a light-hearted, albeit embarrassing, penalty — such as singing “I’m A Little Teapot” in front of a room full of fellow residents.

Con-Quest residents participate in both group and individual therapy. They complete assignments and make occasional presentations to fellow residents on a productive topic aimed at addressing problems common among many inmates in the prison system. They have more freedom to move around, in contrast to offenders in many other areas of the prison. After successfully completing the treatment program, many residents choose to remain in Con-Quest as peer mentors or dorm leaders until they parole.

Residents in Con-Quest also participate in public awareness panels, where the public is able to listen to the residents’ life stories and interact with them through a question and answer session. In addition to shedding more light on the prison system, these panels gives Promontory residents an opportunity to reflect on their actions and provide a warning to at-risk youth or others about where negative choices can lead.

Residents who complete Con-Quest sometimes get earlier parole dates from the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, though each decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

 

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The Uintas (pronounced Yew-In-Tahs) include the Maximum Security facilities at the Utah State Prison. This also is the location of the Intake and Receiving & Orientation (R&O) facility, where new offenders being admitted to the prison go through initial assessments. The Uintas also house high-profile inmates, death-row inmates, and inmates who pose severe management problems such as active gang members. The Uintas have capacity for nearly 800 inmates.

Uinta 1 is the highest-security building in the State's prison system. The building is capable of housing 96 inmates. Inmates are “single-celled,” meaning they do not have cellmates. Unlike traditional depictions of “solitary confinement,” inmates housed in this area can communicate with one another through the doors of their cells. Each cell has a window that provides natural light, and inmates have the opportunity to recreate either indoors in a common area, or outdoors on a concrete pad confined by side walls and chain-link fencing overhead. Like inmates in other facilities, privilege levels vary based on behavior. Nearly all inmates in this section have the ability to earn greater privileges and transition to other areas over time by demonstrating positive behavior. Generally, death-row inmates are the only exception, requiring a sentence to be overturned or commuted to life. Utah currently has nine men on death row.

Uinta 5 is the prison’s “Receiving and Orientation” unit for males. The building can house 122 inmates at capacity. Newly sentenced offenders, offenders who violate terms of their probation and are sentenced to prison time by a judge, and offenders who violate conditions of their parole and are returned to prison by the Board of Pardons and Parole are housed here initially. While in Uinta 5, inmates' ability to move around, access programming and interact with other inmates is temporarily limited as staff assess each person's needs and behaviors and decided on appropriate housing. Inmates also learn about rules, regulations, the grievance and disciplinary processes, and classification.This process typically can take from one to three months.

While in R&O inmates take a test known as the "Level of Service Inventory" or LSI, which evaluates risk factors, appropriate level of supervision and other useful information. The LSI is used by staff to create a “Case Action Plan” (CAP) for each inmate. The CAP tells an inmate what he is expected to do and which programs he is expected to complete (substance-abuse treatment, sex offender treatment, thinking for a change, anger management, etc.) prior to paroling or otherwise being released from custody.

This plan allows staff to aid the offender in focusing on his own release from the day he enters the prison system.

 

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The Olympus facility is designated for inmates with mental health needs. The building can house 168 offenders at full capacity.

Inmates in Olympus generally suffer from more severe mental illnesses that typically require psychotropic medications and more frequent services from mental-health staff. In extreme cases, mentally-ill offenders may not be housed in Olympus due to their tendency to act out, compromise security or cause harm to themselves, other inmates, staff, visitors, etc. This may require these inmates to be housed, at least temporarily, in the Maximum Security facility until their dangerous behavior is stabilized.

Corrections strives to deliver appropriate mental-health services despite the fact the prison is not a specialized facility for treating the mentally ill. The prison is neither equipped nor funded to deliver intensive mental-health treatment to offenders but works to do the best it can to stabilize and manage each offender in its custody.