Week ending Jan. 23, 2015


Corrections officers worried state prison could move too far way by Daniel Woodruff, KUTV

“Amid the debate over moving the Utah State Prison, some are worried about what could happen if it moved too far. Several workers within the prison system tell 2News they fear there could be a mass exodus of experienced guards if state lawmakers vote to put the prison in a distant area.”

Emery County Commission discusses prison relocation by Patsy Stoddard, Emery County Progress

“Commissioner Brady said he attended a meeting to discuss the relocation of the state prison. A group has formed to look at the possibility of presenting a case for relocation in this area. The group is looking at options.”


Inmates rebuilding lives in Utah prison program by Melinda Williams, The Davis Clipper

“Utah State Prison inmates construct, renovate and demolish buildings, repair roofs, work on roads, build spas, fix fences, print brochures and posters, and even have repaired the Bountiful Breakfast Exchange Club’s stagecoach.”


Man convicted in ’98 murder when just 18 seeks parole by Pat Reavy, Deseret News

“Aaron Shavers was just 18 when he shot and killed 15-year-old Jesse Rojas on Dec. 26, 1998. In 2001, Shavers pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five years to life in prison. Third District Judge Judith Atherton recommended that Shavers serve at least 16 years. On Tuesday, Shavers, now 34, was remorseful and apologetic as he went before a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole hoping for a second chance in life.”


Utah Supreme Court: Disruptive, threatening inmate forfeits right to appeal attorney by Stephen Hunt, The Salt Lake Tribune

“A convict serving a life sentence for killing a Utah corrections officer, has forfeited his right to a court-appointed attorney due to his disruptive and threatening conduct toward multiple lawyers who have been trying to help him with his appeals, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday.”

Park City man sent to prison in murder-for-hire case by Geoff Liesik, KSL.com

“A Park City man who tried to hire an undercover officer to kill his ex-wife’s boyfriend has been sentenced to prison. Dustin Wade Ruffino, 45, was ordered Wednesday to serve one to 15 years in prison for his conviction of attempted criminal solicitation, a second-degree felony.”

Sex abuse conviction nets prison term by Kevin Jenkins, The Spectrum

“A Washington City resident accused of sexually abusing a young relative was sentenced Tuesday to a possible sentence of up to 30 years in the Utah State Prison.”

Utah man who killed, robbed elderly woman: ‘Saying sorry doesn’t cut it’ by Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Kenneth Sharp had so many memories of the Murray home where he grew up with his brother. But on Jan. 25, 2014, those memories became tainted, he told a Salt Lake City judge on Tuesday.”


Inmates deserve better mental health treatment by Andrew Riggle, public policy advocate for the Disability Law Center, Deseret News

“Ryan Allison, the Utah State Prison (USP) inmate who died late last year after diving headfirst into the floor of his cell, was a Disability Law Center (DLC) client. Prison treatment notes and Mr. Allison’s conversations with us reveal near constant auditory and visual hallucinations.”

Prison relocation plan overlooks state owned land, The Daily Herald

“Why isn’t the Prison Relocation Committee seriously considering any state or federal land as possible location sites for the Utah State Prison?”


Living with a record: How past crimes may drive job seekers into poverty by Stephen Fee, PBS NewsHour

“Every afternoon, at his dining room table, 35 year old Ronald Lewis does his homework. By day, he’s a student — learning to fix heating and air conditioning systems, and he looks after his three kids. He also works the nightshift, running high-pressure boilers at a chemical plant here in his hometown Philadelphia.”

Supreme Court will hear challenge to Oklahoma execution drug by David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times

“A week after the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote cleared the way for an Oklahoma man to be executed using a controversial new drug, the justices agreed to hear a legal challenge that the drug amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.”

Democrats And Republicans Support Criminal Justice Reform by Chris Peak, NationSwell

“Republicans and Democrats indicated at the start of last week’s legislative term that 2015 is the year for criminal justice reform.

More Washington state inmates finding their way to college behind bars by The Associated Press (in The Oregonian)

“Every week, they slide books through the metal detectors — novels by Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen, copies of the U.S. Constitution, texts on sociology, psychology and comparative religion.”

OPINION: Remaking lives, the Worcester County News Telegram

“A $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help Worcester County reduce recidivism rates is sure to rekindle the ongoing debate over incarceration and rehabilitation.”

How New York City Slashed Racial Disparities in Drug-Sentencing by Carimah Townes, Think Progress

“Since criminal justice reform eliminated New York City’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in 2009, there has been a significant drop in racial disparities in drug sentencing, in addition to a lower rate of recidivism across the five boroughs. That true, moreover, despite the fact that, according to a new study, the vast majority of offenders who qualified for treatment as an alternative to serving prison time did not enroll.”

After serving 40 years for petty burglary committed as a teen, a man fights his life sentence by John H. Tucker, Indy Week (North Carolina)

“In 1973, at age 17, Cumberland County native Larry Stubbs broke into a home and stole $394 worth of property: a table lamp, record player, organ, TV set, electric blanket and a men’s suit. Convicted of second-degree burglary, he was sentenced to life in prison.”

Entrepreneurship the ticket for Texas inmates by Henry C. Jackson, The Associated Press in the Albuquerque Journal

“Standing in a prison chow hall, Richard Chavez Jr. outlines his past: violent felon, former gang member, the fourth member of his family to go to prison. Then his future: owner of a mobile counseling youth service that goes where the troubled kids are.”


Spencer Cox

Pacific Islander inmates at the Utah State Prison perform dance medley during visit from Multicultural Affairs Commission members and lawmakers  (Utah Department of Corrections)

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