Week ending August 7, 2016



August 1: High school students from across Utah visited the Utah State Prison today as part of the Utah National Guard’s Freedom Academy. The students interacted with staff and listened as four inmates shared their life stories. The Freedom Academy is designed to teach youth leaders about freedom from all aspects — especially the role they have to play in protecting it. Learn more about the program at freedomacademyutah.org


State Chooses Western-Most Parcel For Prison Site by Whittney Evans, KUER

“State officials have narrowed down the specific parcel of land where Utah’s new state prison will be built. But some environmentalists say they need more information to feel comfortable with that decision.”


Layton man dead after standoff with SWAT by Bob Mims and Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Layton man was killed during an exchange of gunfire with police early Wednesday morning in Clearfield. Clearfield Police Lt. Kelly Bennett confirmed that 31-year-old Benjamin William Heaton was shot and killed by members of the Davis County Multi-Agency SWAT team during a gunbattle that erupted after a standoff that lasted several hours.”


Incorrect home measurements lead to a new trial for Utah man convicted of fatally shooting his wife by Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

“A two-foot error made by investigators at the scene of a fatal 2012 shooting is enough to warrant a new trial for an Orem man convicted in his wife’s death, a judge ruled Wednesday.”


Ogden family raises concerns, plans legal action over prison murder by Andrew Adams, KSL

“Members of an Ogden family said Tuesday they are planning legal action over a loved one’s murder at the Utah State Prison, which they maintain could have been prevented with closer supervision and swifter intervention.”

OPINION: Dianna Maestas’ son was stabbed 30 times, but no one at the Utah DOC told her by the Standard Examiner

“In the Utah state prison system, some stabbings matter more than others.If you’re dying from stab wounds, your family gets a phone call. Prison officials also call your family if you die.”

Family sues state, corrections department over 2015 beating death of Utah prison inmate by Jennifer Dobner, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The family of a slain inmate has sued the Utah Department of Corrections in federal court, claiming the agency was negligent when it housed Julio Guerrero with a known killer in a cell with a broken security button.”


As Boot-Camp Prisons Face, New York Inmates March On by Corinne Ramey, Wall Street Journal

“At 5:30 on a misty morning in the Adirondacks, 180 prisoners leapt out of bed when a bugle call blasted over a loudspeaker. Fifteen minutes later, they were performing synchronized exercises while a drill instructor barked orders.”

Illinois Summer Camp Program Unites Jailed Moms And Their Children by Nancy Harty, CBS Chicago

“Some children are getting ready to leave for a summer camp that’s unlike most others. Forty-seven youngsters are getting ready to visit their moms in prison. The “Mom and Me Summer Camp” began 15 years ago at the Lincoln Correctional Center.”

Nashville pizza joint helps give women in crisis a second chance by Stephanie Langston, WKRN

“A popular pizza spot in Nashville has partnered with a program to give those that have traveled down the wrong path a second chance.”

Preparing for life after prison: Programs teach inmates job skills, help reduce recidivism rate by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

“You might want to check your preconceptions at the door when you enter one of the state’s newest programs to help inmates transition from prison to society.”

OPINION: Mercy Is Far Too Slow at the Justice Department, The New York Times

“President Obama last week commuted the prison terms of 214 federal inmates who were sent to prison under draconian, ’80s-era laws that have since been revised. Among them were 67 people serving life sentences, nearly all of them for nonviolent drug offenses.”

Ex-offenders work hard, reward restaurants that hire them by Eric Lagatta, The Columbus Dispatch

“It took five stints in prison for Jameel Hasan to realize he needed to make a change. The first time he was locked up at age 19 for a theft charge, “it seemed like somewhat of a joke,” Hasan said. But a 12-month sentence in 2009 for forgery? Not so much.”

Florida Gateway College, Florida Department of Corrections selection for recidivism reduction program by Suwannee Democrat

“Florida Gateway College and the Florida Department of Corrections have been selected by the United States Department of Education as one of 67 experimental sites for the Department’s Second Chance Pell Grant initiative.”

Reducing Recidivism by Reuniting Families: One Day With God at NECX by Tennessee Department of Corrections


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Week ending July 31, 2016



July 30:  Thanks to Utah Senator Mike Lee for visiting with our staff and inmates at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison on Thursday! It was Senator Lee’s first visit to the prison and we appreciated the opportunity to share news about our new housing unit at CUCF and strides we are making in line with the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative.


State now focused on single site near airport for new prison by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“The state has narrowed its search for the specific location of a new Utah State Prison to a single site within some 4,000 acres west of Salt Lake City International Airport already identified for the project.”


Inmate stabbed about 30 times at Utah State Prison by Mark Green, Fox 13

“A unit within the Uinta Facility at the Utah State Prison was put on lock down after an inmate was stabbed about 30 times Wednesday afternoon.”


Former Roy reception center owner sentenced to prison, restitution for fraud by Loretta Park, Standard Examiner

“The former owner of Tuscany Gardens Reception Center has been sentenced to prison for fraud and identity theft.”


Employers To Learn Benefits of Hiring Ex-Offenders by Sarah Boden, Iowa Public Radio

“The recidivism rate for ex-offenders is significantly lower when they find employment after they leave prison. But getting hired can be difficult for people with criminal records.”

Dallas program helps women break cycle of recidivism by Bradley Blackburn, WFAA

“here was a special moment in a Dallas courtroom Monday for a woman who’s turning her life around. Not long ago, Felicia Flynn was a prostitute, but now she has a job in a restaurant. Monday, she celebrated a milestone, graduating from STAR Court, a court-ordered diversion program that seeks to help sex workers break a cycle of recidivism. It’s a big first.”

Research reveals restorative justice reduces recidivism by Phys.org

“Restorative justice programs, such victim-offender mediation and community impact panels, are more effective in reducing recidivism rates among juvenile offenders than traditional court processing, a study by researchers at Sam Houston State University found.”

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Week ending July 24, 2016


app directors.jpg

July 23: We are finishing out our 2016 Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week celebration with a salute to our amazing director, deputy directors, regional supervisors and administrative staff! These hard-working folks keep Adult Probation & Parole on track and moving forward with all the changes that have come with the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.


Deaths in Utah’s county jails support advocates’ zero fatalities goal by Mark Shenefelt, Standard-Examiner

“Utah’s county jails have elaborate policies aimed at safeguarding sick or suicidal inmates, but a spate of deaths has fostered concerns about a shaky safety net for those who go behind bars.”


OPINION: Prison reform proponents have it backward by William G. Otis, Deseret News

“President Obama and some in Congress tell us our criminal justice system is “broken” — that we have too many people in prison for too long. They say the way forward lies in reducing the already declining federal inmate population — already at its lowest level in over a decade and still dropping.”


OPINION: Governors Deal, Fallin and Bevin: How we are transforming our states’ justice systems by Nathan Deal (Georgia), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma) and Matt Bevin (Kentucky), Fox News

“President Ronald Reagan once famously said, ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ No one could have seen it at the time, but we now know that, with respect to our justice system, truer words were never spoken.”

Locked Up, Then Locked Out: Removing Barriers to Employment for Persons with Criminal Records, Florida Taxwatch

“Employment is a critical factor in reducing recidivism, and many states have forged policy solutions to address the cyclical relationship between unemployment and crime. To help stop this revolving door in Florida, this TaxWatch report makes recommendations for Florida to improve access to employment opportunities for released ex-offenders; reducing recidivism, driving down future prison populations, and saving taxpayer dollars.”

Ongoing Pa. Justice Department review focuses on high incarceration, recidivism by Katie Meyer, Newsworks.org

“A nonpartisan group reviewing the Pennsylvania Justice System is releasing data on some of the biggest issues it has found — hih rates of incarceration and recidivism.”

Applicants for Montgomery County jobs won’t be asked about felony convictions by Kaitlyn Foti, Montgomery Advertiser

“Montgomery County has ‘banned the box.’ That means those with felony convictions will no longer have to check a box on employment applications with the county. Instead, criminal records will only be available to those reviewing applications after a conditional offer of employment is given. Only then will a background check be issued.”

Local re-entry program shows promise from inmates by Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune

“People serving sentences for nonviolent felonies in San Diego County custody recommit crimes less frequently than those who serve in state prison for similar crimes, according to new data from the San Diego County probation department.”

Recidivism-reducing programs in Lafayette, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe canceled because of budget cuts by Lanie Lee Cook, The Acadiana Advocate

“State funding for programs designed to help former inmates under state supervision stay out of jail has been cut from four Louisiana cities, including Lafayette, that offer the services as part of a larger round of budget cuts within the state Department of Corrections.”

Eastern State Penitentiary and the Critique of Mass Incarceration by Amy McKeever, Pacific Standard

“A humid afternoon in Philadelphia is an unforgiving time to mill around this prison yard. But here they are, of their own free will. Penned between the thick stone walls and brick towers — ominous battlements that evoke a medieval castle — more than a dozen tourists dressed in shorts and tank tops, capri pants and polos, wander across Eastern State Penitentiary’s baseball diamond with audio packs slung around their necks.”

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