On the day before their graduation from the Utah Department of Corrections Pre-Service Academy, Class 318 gathered in the gym at the Fred House Training Academy. There were tears of joy. A small ceremony was held. People spoke about commitment. They offered “thank-yous” to those that provided support. Hands were shook. Hugs were shared. This is a feel-good story. But it’s not the one the group expected when the class started nearly four months ago. It’s not about the cadets that survived training. It’s about the one that survived. “From the heart, thank you,” said Richard Shuck, a 55-year-old recruit from the Weber County Sheriff’s Department. “The depth of my gratitude, I can’t express.” He was speaking to his former classmates, training academy instructors and members of the Draper City Fire Department – all who had a hand in saving him after a massive heart attack following a training run nearly took his life. “You brought me back,” he said. “You gave me a chance.” On the fateful day about seven weeks into training, the cadets were completing what many consider the toughest part of physical fitness test: a timed 1.5-mile run. Shuck finished in the allotted time. “We were getting ready to go to class when he passed out in front of us,” said Sgt. Justin Ivey, a member of the training academy staff who witnessed the incident. “Then it looked like he had a seizure.” At that point, Capt. Christopher Crane of the training academy and Adult Probation and Parole Agent Chris Facer – who was there to support his wife, a member of Class 318, in her quest to join the UDC – began life-saving measures. While the two did CPR on Shuck, Ivey called 9-1-1. Despite the traumatic nature, several cadets found ways to help. “(The class) did an awesome job. They were amazing,” said Ivey. “They wanted to help. They responded very well.” Emergency responders from Draper Fire arrived and took over. They utilized a defibrillator device and were able to detect a heartbeat and other vital signs as Shuck was loaded into the ambulance. He was rushed into surgery soon after arriving at the hospital. “I didn’t find out until he had made it through surgery,” said Ginny Shuck, Richard’s wife. “He’s getting better slowly, but he’s OK. “Today is a good day.” Joining Ginny Shuck were other family friends, like Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard and Air National Guard who said he has known Shuck for 15 years. They listened as Draper Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Holt noted this was National Emergency Services Week and introduced those that were on the call that day. He also praised the UDC staffers, noting their efforts were key to the successful outcome. So did Shuck, who recounted that doctors told him he had a type of heart attack known as a “widowmaker.” “One of the nurses told me she had never seen someone survive one,” he said. After a 31-year career in the Army that saw him retire as a Lt. Colonel, Shuck said he joined the Weber County Sheriff’s Department as a correctional deputy because “he wanted to be around people who cared.” On this day, surrounded by his rescuers, he thanked them for caring. Not just about him, but for others as well. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you did,” he said, “and what you do.”   Communications office, May 24, 2021...

(4/21/2021: This story has been updated with information on rates and contact numbers.) The Utah Department of Corrections will move its phone system at the Utah State Prison in Draper (USP) and the Central Utah Correctional Facility (CUCF) in Gunnison to the new vendor Global Tel*Link Corporation (GTL). The new system will go live on April 5, 2021, for USP and April 7, 2021, for CUCF. The rates going into effect are lower than with the previous vendor. Exact costs are listed below. As implemented at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department will continue to provide 10 free 15-minute phone calls per week. Additionally, GTL has committed to provide one free five-minute phone call per incarcerated person per week for the life of the contract. Rates and Charges for Inmate Telephone Services will be as follows: The per-minute-of-use call rate shall not exceed the maximum rates authorized by the state’s telecommunication regulatory authority (“PUC”) and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). Interstate ITS calls made using a collect format: $0.23 per minute of use, plus tax. Interstate ITS calls, whether made using a debit, prepaid/AdvancePayTM format: $0.19 per minute of use, plus tax. Local and Intrastate ITS collect calls: $0.12 per minute of use, plus tax. Local and Intrastate ITS calls, whether made using a debit, prepaid/AdvancePayTM format: $0.10 per minute of use, plus tax. International ITS calls, whether made using a debit, prepaid/AdvancePayTM format: Rates published on the Company website. (UPDATE: Some users may see a credit on their GTL account to correct previous billing issues prior to April 15. Not all accounts had issues and therefore will not receive a credit.) Families and friends of incarcerated individuals can set up their account here: https://web.connectnetwork.com, or by calling 877-650-4249. NOTE: Connect Network is the only authorized website to set up a prepaid account with Global Tel*Link. Other web pages with similar names may exist, but are not associated with GTL. The following handout will be posted and distributed to the incarcerated population regarding the transition to GTL this weekend: https://corrections.utah.gov/images/Utah_DOC_New_Pin_Debit__1.pdf FAQS:  Q: Will I need to set up a new account? A. Yes, you can set up a new account https://web.connectnetwork.com or call 877-650-4249. To add funds you can call ConnectNetwork at (800) 777-2522. Friends and families can deposit funds online or over the phone. Incarcerated individual's funds will be transferred over from CenturyLink to the GTL phone system if you had a balance it will be ported over. Q. How will my incarcerated loved one know of the change? A. Informational flyers have been posted in all sections throughout our facilities, and flyers have been distributed. Q. Who can I call if I am having trouble with the change over? A.  All customer service numbers are on the website above and via phone at: (800) 777-2522 Q. How will this impact video visiting? A. Video visiting is facilitated through a different vendor, and the UDC does not anticipate any impact. Q. Will phone services be disrupted as you transition from CenturyLink to GTL? A. The change will be instantaneous, and we do not anticipate an interruption in phone services.   Communications Office, March 31, 2021 (Updated April 21, 2021)...

Video visiting is now available at most housing units at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. CUCF now joins Utah State Prison as having video visiting available. Schedules for both CUCF and USP can be found here. Prior to scheduling your visit you will need to have taken these steps to renew your visiting application and have sent a photo ID. You can learn more here. Once the application has been approved, schedule a visit here.   Communications office, March 22, 2021...

Nearly all of the Utah State Prison (USP) in Draper incarcerated individuals 70 years or older will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Utah Department of Corrections officials. Last week the clinical services team personally screened and offered the vaccine to every incarcerated individuals 70 years and older at USP, with 79 individuals agreed to receive the vaccine. The initial rollout of the vaccine began Jan. 25. 2021. The most high-risk and medically compromised individuals are housed there due to proximity to USP's infirmary and local hospitals. Nghia Cano’s last birthday qualified her for the vaccine. She said it was not a difficult choice to make. “I think the (danger) with COVID is worse than any problems with the vaccine,” she said moments before receiving her first dose. Octogenarian Mary Hansen echoed Cano’s sentiments. “That COVID is going around and I don’t want to get it,” she said, adding, “I’m in the class that ought to get it.” Medical staff at the Draper facility said inmates are well aware of the impact the virus has had on older Americans and those with underlying medical conditions. Both the Utah State Prison and the Central Utah Correctional Center have experienced outbreaks recently. “Oh, yeah, it’s very relevant,” said Craig Jensen, a registered nurse who is the infectious disease coordinator for the Clinical Services Bureau, the UDC’s medical arm. “It’s a concern to them. They ask questions all the time. They know they are high risk.” Even a few who declined the vaccine are keeping their options open, said Rodger MacFarlane, a RN with the department. “One told me he was not going to get it yet, but hadn’t made up his mind,” recalled MacFarlane. That was not the case for Alavina Floirreich, who quietly waited her turn in the Timpanogos Womens Facility. She was determined to get the vaccine – and her reasoning was simple. “Because I do not want to be sick,” she said....

We are excited to announce that we will launch video visiting across the Utah State Prison in Draper beginning February 1. We are still working on technical issues within maximum security, but we remain hopeful that in the coming weeks we will be able to roll out video visiting there as well. Prior to scheduling your visit you will need to have taken these steps to renew your visiting application and have sent a photo ID. You can learn more here: https://corrections.utah.gov/index.php/home/alerts-2/1260-udc-begins-testing-of-video-visiting-system We hope to have a virtual portal to sign up for visits, but for now, you will need to email uspscheduleavisit@utah.govto schedule your visit. Schedules can be found here. Visits must be scheduled two business days in advance (with the exception of Feb.1 through Feb.3) Inmates will be limited to one visit per scheduled day. Visits that are cancelled due to technical issues (internet being unavailable, Power outages, etc.) will not be made up. We appreciate your patience in advance as we roll out this opportunity. You can learn more here. Video visiting has also launched at the Central Utah Correctional Facility....

[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...