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jail deaths

Davis County Jail.
Whittey Evans / KUER

Following a state-mandated report on the number of deaths in Utah’s jails, officials from county sheriff’s offices, mental health advocates and jail health care workers met at the Capitol on Wednesday to seek solutions.

The ACLU of Utah and Disability Law Center have announced a lawsuit against Davis County to release its standards for operating local jails following a rash of inmate deaths. 

People are Dying in Utah Jails

May 10, 2018

On December 1st, 2016, 21-year-old Madison Jensen died of heroin withdrawal in the Duchesne County Jail. She’d been violently ill, but no one in the jail did anything about it. Her death is part of a pattern — because Utah has seen more inmate deaths per capita in the last few years than any other state in the nation. And the way Utah jails are run is mostly kept secret.  

 There have been some changes since KUER’s Whittney Evans reported this story. The Utah legislature passed a bill during the last session that requires jails to report in-custody deaths annually. The bill also says jails must disclose their policies for treating inmates withdrawing from drugs. Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections is planning to write new rules for running jails — and make them public. For now, though, Utah jails continue to operate under the secret policies created by Gary Deland.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/secrecy-nothing-new-gary-deland-utahs-former-prison-boss-who-wont-reveal-jail-standards


Utah is working to get mentally ill jail inmates the treatment they need to stand trial. But because of funding, many of them now have to wait. The Utah legislature is finalizing the budget this week, which includes money to expand the state hospital. But some worry it’s just a temporary solution.


digicomphoto via www.istockphoto.com

More transparency could be coming to Utah jails and prisons with a bill that would require them to report all in-custody deaths to the state. 

Courtesy of Jared Jensen

The ACLU of Utah will continue to fight for the full release of Utah’s current jail standards. This comes after the state announced a redacted version will be available online.


The Utah Department of Corrections says it will write new standards for safety and operations at state prisons and county jails — and those standards will be made available to the public. The announcement Friday came after media and civil rights groups had challenged their confidentiality.

Sarah Welliver / Standard Examiner

Utah’s had a rash of inmate deaths lately. In fact, the state has had more inmates per capita die this past few years than any other state in the nation.

Courtesy of Jared Jensen

A Utah nurse is charged with negligent homicide in the death of a 21-year-old inmate at the Duchesne County Jail.