After receiving positive feedback from inmate family and loved ones last year, the Utah Department of Corrections is again offering expanded video visiting opportunities at the Utah State Correctional Facility and the Central Utah Correctional Facility on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The UDC increase in video visiting will happen in all areas of the prisons to provide more inmates the opportunity to visit with family and loved ones on the holiday. To accommodate the increase in video visiting, in-person visitation will be suspended on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For many inmates, 2021's modifications gave them an opportunity to visit with family members they don't normally see and even allow them to be a part of gift opening with their families. To sign up, please visit: https://corrections.utah.gov/visit-an-inmate. Time slots to sign up are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the time slots are full, the UDC will not be able to add any more, but can add people to a wait list if a cancellation occurs....

The 2022 Holiday Gift Bags are now available from the Utah Department of Corrections’ commissary. You can find more details about the program here. This year, the packages consist of food items only. Once on the site, enter the number of the incarcerated individual or use the search function to find the person by name. From there, you can compile a holiday package. For questions regarding the process, please reach out to customer service at 469-936-0214.   Communications Office, Nov. 15, 2022...

Incarcerated individuals working in the UCI textile shop produced 100 backpacks for donation to the Sevier County Backpack Club this month. This organization uses backpacks as a foundation to create food kits for children in need around Sevier County. "It really is a cool thing that they do, and we are happy we could be part of it," said UCI manager Jesse Gettler, "[UCI employees] were excited to be part of this service knowing that these backpacks were going to kids in need." UCI workers not only produced the backpacks, but were also able to come up with the designs themselves. The participants were excited to learn new skills while giving back to the community. "The project was a win-win for the community and the inmates. I love seeing positive work being accomplished in the lives of the inmates that work for the community and for us," said program specialist Steven Gerber upon the project's completion, "that's what it is all about, making a positive impact on the lives of others." UCI is grateful to Watts Bags for donating webbing for this project. UCI purchased all other materials used in the production of the backpacks....

Laundry detergent has been removed from Commissary to help reinforce a rule that laundry cannot be washed at the housing unit. This rule is in place for several security reasons. Conflicts arise because a person or group takes possession of laundry buckets not allowing access to other offenders. Water temperatures are not hot enough to sanitize the laundry and 5-gallon buckets are often unsanitary. 5-gallon buckets intended for laundry are often used to produce homemade alcohol, hide contraband, and have at times been used to flood sections and block security devices.  Laundry is available to each incarcerated individual for clothing on a weekly basis with two bags provided, both labeled with the individual’s name and number. Laundry is picked up in the morning and delivered on the same day in the afternoon. Because of the increased capacity of the USCF laundry, we are increasing the frequency of sheets and blanket laundry from monthly to weekly. Sheets and blankets will also be picked up in the morning and returned in the afternoon.  Bags that have not been tied properly can come open spilling the laundry. This has been happening more frequently since moving to USCF because the washing machines spin faster. Open laundry bags are documented, inventoried, and returned with the rest of the laundry. Clothing that comes up missing is most likely being taken from these open bags on the housing units. Laundry workers are always searched before leaving the laundry area and are not allowed to wear personal clothing while at work. They do not have the opportunity to move clothing from the laundry facility to the housing unit.  Bags that are tied in an overhand knot on the bag (knot in the mesh bag), then secured with the string tied above the knot will not open up. This system of securing a pin bag has proven to work at Draper and at USCF. Our Operations Team is working to create a video and training sheet to distribute to housing unit leadership, so they can help offenders secure their laundry bags properly. Laundry will continue to document each item of loose clothing that was returned to the housing unit....

Mosquitoes are bad this year in Utah. That headline may not come as a surprise to those who have been outside this summer. According to a recent Fox 13 News story, the number of mosquitoes in Salt Lake County is close to twice the five-year average for the region. It certainly isn’t a shock to those at the new Utah State Correctional Facility that opened in July. The overall increase in the bugs came just as the Utah Department of Corrections moved more than 3,000 incarcerated offenders, plus hundreds of staff and volunteers, to the location. Apparently, the critters are attracted to carbon dioxide. Humans call it exhaling. Since move-in day, the insects have been a constant source of irritation. Yet the surge was unexpected at the new prison, since workers – topping more than 2,000 at some points – have been at the site for several years. During that time, there were no reports of mosquitoes being an issue. Regardless of the cause, the goal for UDC officials is to manage the mosquito population with the help of the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District. “We have been working with SLCMAD since August to provide abatement measures, including spraying and traps,” said Kaitlin Felsted, Director of Communications for the Utah Department of Corrections. She added that the district was providing abatement services to USCF during some of the construction phase. One big challenge has been the use of repellant. A number of such products are flammable, making them unsafe for a correctional facility. “Prior to approving a repellant, our team reviewed potential safety concerns,” noted Felsted, who said a suitable product was found. “Bug repellant will be offered to the incarcerated through commissary in the coming weeks.” She added that no staff or offenders at any state-operated correctional site have contracted a mosquito-borne illness. In the future, Felsted said the UDC plans to have staff certified to use larvicide in the storm drains or where stagnant water is found on USCF property. These treatments would start in spring 2023....

The Utah Department of Corrections shares responses to common questions as staff and incarcerated individuals settle in at the new Utah State Correctional Facility. The first few items are ongoing concerns, while latter items are concerns that have been addressed and resolved. ONGOING FOOD: TIMING With moving to the new facility, we have introduced a new pattern for meals for many incarcerated individuals. Previously, most meals were provided in the section, whereas now many eat together in a dining hall setting. We remain positive that this is a move in the right direction in providing opportunities for individuals to prepare to successfully reenter their communities, since this will more closely mirror everyday life. We had inmates and staff training in the USCF culinary for months before it opened to learn how the new equipment operates, but we still have some kinks to work out. With the staffing shortage and time it takes to learn new equipment, we have been presented with some short term concerns, including individuals receiving meals at off hours or in too short a period of time. Our team is working to address the logistical issues, and with each day the process continues to improve. Thank you for your patience. There have been questions about the new food trays. We assure you that you are getting the same amount of food at USCF as you were at USP. The food trays are designed differently, but they hold the same amount of food. Because the new food trays are deeper, it appears you are receiving less food. Again, we assure you that you are not. PHONES There are two to three phones in each section that are readily available for use. We are actively exploring options for what it would require to add additional phones. In the coming months, we also look forward to introducing significant increases in opportunities for communications through our tablet program and through kiosks installed in the sections where individuals can order commissary, request medical services, submit concerns through our grievance process and more. MOSQUITOES The Utah Department of Corrections is working with the SLC Mosquito Abatement District and has already begun to implement safe and effective abatement measures. In addition to facility-wide abatement approaches, we are exploring what can be done to help on a more individualized basis, including options for repellant for incarcerated individuals; however, safety and security takes precedence and many of the repellants are extremely flammable. See latest update here: https://corrections.utah.gov/2022/10/24/whats-going-on-with-mosquitoes/ MEDICAL  Unrelated to the move, the UDC transitioned to a new medical records system and is working to address technical difficulties. See more here. COMMISSARY Due to supply-chain issues and a change in vendors, commissary has been dealing with shortages in certain items. However, officials report that basic hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste have always been available, though certain brands may have been out-of-stock. The ordering process is now conducted through phones, tablets and electronic ordering forms. This allows for a live list of items that are actually available so individuals won’t have to wait to hear whether their order was able to be fulfilled. We understand that this process is different from the paper process at the former prison, and we appreciate the patience of those incarcerated in adapting. In the coming weeks, you can anticipate that items that have been unavailable – including electronics, shoes, utensils and clothing – will be back in stock.   OTHER FAQS ✅  Addressed: There simply aren't enough employees to safely supervise everyone While we are at critical staffing levels, our operations team has worked diligently to ensure that the current staffing pattern can manage the safety and security of our operations.  We are actively recruiting, and anyone that is interested can visit this link https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/utah?department%5B0%5D=410%20Department%20of%20Corrections&sort=PositionTitle%7CAscending or contact our recruiter directly at 385-208-5255.  ✅  Addressed: The laundry situation is not working well Laundry services are provided once a week. Incarcerated individuals can send both state and personal clothing as well as sheets and blankets to be laundered. Laundry Services provide offenders with two laundry bags to separate colors and whites to ensure personal clothing is not ruined. In addition to laundry services, offenders are provided a monthly Direct Exchange for sheets and blankets. See latest update here: https://corrections.utah.gov/2022/10/24/why-changes-to-the-laundry/ ✅  Addressed: Windows and skylights are leaking water There have been small, unforeseen construction issues with moving into a brand new facility. Our facilities team has been responsive and nimble at addressing any concerns. ✅  Addressed: Not enough outdoor time provided compared to Draper Out-of-cell times and recreational yard times are impacted by multiple factors, including time of year. For example, as daylight hours shorten in winter months, so must access to the recreational yards based on visibility provided by daylight hours. Each individual’s experience may differ based on privilege matrix levels, punitive isolation, COVID protocols, or temporary restriction orders. However, in most cases the yard time will be comparable or more. Most inmates housed at USCF have had a significant increase in access to small yards or courtyards. ✅  Addressed: Gang violence, gang members are not being separated We primarily house based on an individual's behavior with consideration for programming, medical, bed space, safety needs, etc. Should an individual have a safety concern, they can notify the officer on their housing unit at any time.  The following newsletter was distributed to all incarcerated individuals toward the end of August at USCF and CUCF:  English version: https://corrections.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Newsletter-to-Inmates__08.25.22.pdf Spanish version: https://corrections.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Inmate-Newsletter-Spanish-08.29.pdf     Updated: 10/27/2022 Published: 08/18/2022...

With support from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Government Operations (DGO)/Division of Technology Services (DTS); the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) completed a comprehensive medical records review Thursday. This effort included an assessment and update of every incomplete medical record that came through during a transition to a new Electronic Healthcare Records System (EHRS), along with a return to more normal operations in regards to the distribution of medications within correctional facilities. “As we continue to reconcile the new with our operations, we feel that we have turned a corner in regards to prescription distribution,” said Brian Nielson, executive director for the UDC. “The filling and distribution of medications is at a more manageable level. I cannot express enough gratitude for our team members and partner organizations who have been here around the clock to assist with these efforts.” In regards to actual prescriptions being filled, just a little over a week ago, there were more than 8,000 prescriptions in the queue to be refilled. As of Thursday morning, Sept. 1, that number has plummeted to 1,300. On a typical day – prior to migration – UDC had 1,000 prescriptions to fill. “Following migration to the new system, many of the 17,000-plus active prescriptions that we manage needed to be reviewed,” said Nielson. “As we worked with our contracted EHRS to resolve the issues, it became apparent that each prescription would need to be analyzed and, in many cases, reentered into the system. At this time, all of those records have been reviewed.” DHHS provided a total of 54 medical representatives, including registered nurses, physicians, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. As UDC returns to more normal operations in regards to the distribution of prescriptions, DHHS will provide more limited ongoing support as co-leads of an Electronic Health Record Response Team. “I’ve been proud to participate alongside our team in this effort,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, executive medical director for DHHS. “We will leverage this situation as an opportunity to optimize the performance of the Electronic Health Records database and help ensure it aids providers in improving the care of patients in the Utah prison system.” Moving forward, UDC will continue to work closely with the EHRS provider (Fusion), the Governor’s Office, DGO, DTS, and DHHS on overall process management. View the entire press release here.   ...

On August 1, Fusion (a vendor contracted with the Utah Department of Corrections) launched a new Electronic Health Records system to help manage care in correctional facilities. Within a matter of days, it became apparent that there were some problems with the roll-out. The scope of those issues is still being uncovered, but a glitch that initially seemed to cause isolated patients to fail to receive medication refills, soon ballooned into a system-wide health data migration issue. The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) has already received support from the Governor’s Office, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, and local pharmacies to rectify the problem. This week, UDC increased their medical presence with patients throughout the prison system to confirm the accuracy of prescriptions. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services has provided four pharmacists, five pharmacy technicians, and a total of 26 medical representatives including, registered nurses, physicians assistants, and advanced practice nurses. Staff throughout UDC’s Clinical Services Bureau, and other UDC personnel, are continuing to work tirelessly to correct data and fill prescriptions. UDC is grateful for partnerships with the University of Utah Medical Center’s Midvalley Pharmacy, Gunnison Family Pharmacy, and other pharmacies throughout the state to increase its capacity to deliver medications. UDC fills 750-1,000 prescriptions on a typical day; on Monday, UDC filled 2,000. UDC’s Planning and Research Bureau, and the state Division of Technology Services are assisting the software developers in auditing data and digging into technical details. “Our medical providers have been putting in long, dedicated hours to manage the care of incarcerated individuals. We are making significant progress and we will not be satisfied until it is completely resolved.” said Brian Nielson, executive director with the Utah Department of Corrections. “We are  grateful for their service, and we truly appreciate the support of all our state partners and other agencies who are assisting during this critical time.” As part of UDC’s regular process, if incarcerated individuals have an urgent medical concern, they can notify the officer in their housing section. If incarcerated individuals need to be seen by medical or have a prescription filled, they can submit a health care request form (available on their housing unit) to be seen. And anyone concerned that their incarcerated loved one is not receiving critical medications is encouraged to contact UDC. While the data migration to this new system has posed immense challenges, UDC recognizes the severity of the crisis at hand and will continue to be transparent and accountable to repair the issues and restore confidence that all incarcerated individuals will reliably receive their medications in a timely and accurate manner. UDC continues to communicate directly with families of incarcerated individuals. UDC anticipates that when all the issues are ironed out with the Fusion Electronic Health Records system, it will provide vast systemic improvements and successfully phase out an antiquated database. The Utah Department of Corrections will share an update for the families of incarcerated individuals on August 26 from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom regarding the technical challenges we have experienced moving to a new medical records management system. We will open for questions at the end of the event. See the latest update here: [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT1l_E3Ts1E[/embedyt] Page Updated: 08/28/22...

The Utah Department of Corrections was slated in February to migrate to a new electronic records system that will improve operations overall; however due to delays with the contractor, the data migration began during the move to the new prison. We are now experiencing some technical challenges with that transition. Our medical team is working around the clock to address these concerns. Generally speaking, if an incarcerated individual has an urgent medical concern they can notify the officer in their housing section. If an incarcerated individual needs to be seen by medical or have a prescription filled, then they can submit a health care request form (available on their housing unit) to be seen.  On Sunday, August 21, the Utah Department of Corrections shared an update via Zoom regarding technical challenges we have experienced moving to a new medical records management system. You can see the video here: [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAVBhVFXCik[/embedyt]       Updated: 08/22/22  Originally posted: 08/18/2022...

Today, the Utah Department of Corrections completed a historic transfer of incarcerated individuals from Utah State Prison in Draper to the Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City, marking its official opening.   We are grateful for the law enforcement agencies and other organizations who offered support in making this historic move to the new Utah State Correctional Facility happen. Outside agencies across the state stepped up to offer services to the UDC, including:       Utah Division of Technology Services Utah Highway Patrol    Utah Department of Transportation Department of Natural Resources Unified Police     Salt Lake County Sheriff     Cache County Sheriff    Utah County Sheriff    Davis County Sheriff   Kane County Sheriff Sevier County Sheriff Wasatch County Sheriff Millard County Sheriff Weber County Sheriff...