Utah Department of Corrections | KUER 90.1

Utah Department of Corrections

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Steve Gehrke of the Utah Department of Corrections

A legislative subcommittee approved plans Wednesday to cut up to nearly $45 million in funding for Utah’s courts and Department of Corrections. 

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Elaine Clark / KUER

A Salt Lake City nursing home has Utah’s first confirmed incident of community transmission of COVID-19 at a care facility, state and local health officials announced Saturday, the day after officials confirmed the first case in the Department of Corrections.

Photo of fence outside Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

Updated 6:41 p.m. MDT 4/2/2020: This story has been updated to reflect an announcement from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office Thursday. 

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said Thursday the state’s first inmate has tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate was one of six to have been tested for the virus out of roughly 1,400 countywide and is currently under isolation. 51 other inmates from the same unit have also been moved to medical quarantine cells at Metro Jail from the smaller Oxbow facility. 

Utah Department of Corrections

Rollin Cook, head of the Utah Department of Corrections is stepping down next month. For the past five years, he’s overseen the prison system, probation and parole, and other rehabilitation programs.

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The Utah Attorney general has filed charges against five former employees of the Daggett County Sheriff’s office for alleged abuse of inmates at the county jail.

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Police in Utah are increasing efforts to deal with a growing number of parole violators committing violent crimes in Salt Lake County. In the meantime, the department of corrections has accepted the resignations of two division of Adult Probation and Parole officials.

Utah Department of Corrections

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is supporting a group of state inmates currently on hunger strike.

Brian Grimmett

The commission tasked with finding a new location for the state prison has pushed back its deadline for to October 1st. The Prison Relocation Commission met Thursday morning at the Utah State Capitol and left more questions to answer.

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The Utah Department of Corrections currently has a staffing shortage, and officials say they are launching a huge hiring campaign to fill more than 160 vacant positions.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

The Utah Department of Corrections officially launched a new intervention program Thursday to keep female offenders out of jail.

Utah Department of Corrections

The Utah Medical Examiner's Office has ruled the death of state prison inmate Christopher Lee Lucas a homicide. The death occurred last fall after corrections officers used pepper spray to break up a fight between Lucas and another inmate.

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The Disability Law Center in Utah is conducting an investigation into the death of Ramon Estrada, a state prisoner who died Sunday of apparent cardiac arrest due to renal failure.

Dan Bammes

The Utah Department of Corrections plans to end the wild horse training program at the state prison in Gunnison.  The decision was made based on how much the state gets paid to care for the mustangs.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management keeps a total of about 15-hundred horses on the state’s prison property in Gunnison.  At any one time, about 15 inmates are involved in the program to gentle and saddle train mustangs taken from public rangeland.