Week ending April 12, 2015


Group wants to use referendum to keep the prison in Draper by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News/KSL.com

“A group that wants to keep the Utah State Prison in Draper has already run into trouble in its attempt to launch a referendum to repeal a new law that includes financing for the relocation process.”

Why The Prison Relocation Commission Is Taking So Long by Brenna Kelly, Utah Public Radio 

“Early last year the Utah State Legislature established the Prison Relocation Commission team to develop a new correctional facility to replace the Utah State Prison in Draper. In February, months behind schedule, the team chose five finalist sites.”

Prison sites no longer ranked, but Fairfield still fearful of being first pick by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“The acting Fairfield mayor said it doesn’t matter if the Legislature’s Prison Relocation Commission has thrown out the rankings that put the tiny Utah County town at the top of the list of five sites to relocate the state prison.”


Here is the press release regarding the death of Ramon C. Estrada at the Utah State Prison on April 5.

Changes being made at Utah State Prison after inmate dies while awaiting dialysis by Matt McDonald and Mark Green, Fox13

“A spokeswoman for the Utah State Prison said changes are already being made after an inmate died while he was waiting to receive his dialysis treatment over the weekend and the technician didn’t arrive as scheduled.”

Utah inmate, weeks from parole, dies after dialysis technician no-shows by Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune

“An inmate weeks away from being released on parole from the Utah State Prison has died and another remains hospitalized after a medical technician failed to show up for work, causing several inmates to miss their dialysis treatments. Ramon C. Estrada, 62, died Sunday of apparent cardiac arrest due to renal failure, according to a statement by the Utah Department of Corrections. He was to be released on parole April 21 after nearly a decade in prison on a rape conviction.”

Advocate investigating inmate death call incident a ‘preventable tragedy’ by McKenzie Romero, KSL.com

“Advocates are calling the death of a Utah State Prison inmate who was not given a scheduled dialysis treatment a ‘completely preventable tragedy.'”

Disability Law Center to Investigate Death of Utah Inmate by Andrea Smardon, KUER

“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.”

Prison, health services continue to investigate prison death by Pat Reavy, KSL.com

“‘An obvious breakdown in communication’ resulted in the death of a Utah State Prison inmate who failed to receive his dialysis treatment, according to a statement from the Utah Department of Corrections. But as of Friday, there were still many unanswered questions pending multiple investigations about who may have failed to talk to whom or who might have failed to relay a potentially life-saving message.”


Pew Applauds Utah Leaders for Sentencing and Corrections Reforms, PRWeb

“Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a comprehensive package of criminal justice legislation today, putting his state at the forefront of those advancing research-driven policies designed to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs. H.B. 348 is expected to save taxpayers more than $500 million over the next two decades by cutting projected prison growth by 95 percent.”


New Program offers help for those struggling with addiction by Molly Marcelo, Moab Times-Independent

“MentorWorks, a program that specializes in aftercare for individuals struggling with substance abuse, has opened its first sober living house in Moab. According to representatives from the non-profit Foundation for Family Life — the organization that developed MentorWorks — the program will mentor men in the Moab area who have been jailed for substance-related offenses.”


Logan man sentenced to prison for photographing nude pictures of local children by Will Feelright, Cache Valley Daily

“A 39-year-old Logan man has been sentenced to prison for downloading and taking pornographic pictures of local children.”


With a prison, where matters less than what, The Salt Lake Tribune

“You know all that talk about how the Utah State Prison is — or ought to be — close to the state’s population center because, among other reasons, it provides easy access to health-care services for inmates? It’s true, of course. But the argument has just taken on a sense of horribly morbid irony. One inmate is dead, and six others were taken to the hospital, apparently because the technician who was supposed to perform the necessary dialysis treatments didn’t show up at the prison as scheduled, either Friday or Saturday.”

Don’t build the prison in Fairfield, The Daily Herald

“The 152 residents of Fairfield don’t want a state penitentiary in their backyard. They don’t want the improved infrastructure. They don’t want the economic boom.”


Dabakis makes four in Salt Lake City mayor’s race by Christopher Smart, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Jim is in. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, has announced his candidacy for Salt Lake City mayor, saying his high profile and popularity in the community puts him in position to win.”

A Re-Entry Program That Works by Jean DeWinter, The Huffington Post

“What if college students and ex-offenders could live together, support and help each other find their place in society? A priest by the name of Father Jack Hickey and a group of Vanderbilt college students formed that radical idea in 1974 and named their mission after the penitent thief that Jesus forgave at the crucifixion. Shortly thereafter, the first Dismas house opened in concert with the Vanderbilt Prison Project and later a second Dismas house, spearheaded by the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County, opened in South Bend, Indiana.”

Report: Pennsylvania one of many states where prison population has declined by Michael Goldberg

“Pennsylvania is one of 34 states that have seen a decline in their prison population in recent years, due mainly to changes in drug, parole and other policies, according to statistics released this week by The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for prison and sentencing reform.”

Audit finds problems monitoring Utah sex offenders’ access to children by Michael McFall, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The state can do a better job of making sure registered sex offenders don’t have unsupervised access to children, according to an audit released Wednesday. The Office of the Utah State Auditor’s report analyzed sex offenders’ access to “vulnerable populations,” such as children. The audit found that the state agency that issues licenses to child care and foster providers don’t regularly and independently verify whether sex offenders live in homes approved for such care. The audit turned up two sex offenders living in such homes.”

Crackdown nets 1,200-plus gang arrests — 18 in Utah by Bob Mims, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Federal immigration officials confirmed Wednesday that 18 Utah gang members were among the more than 1,200 suspects rounded up as part of Homeland Security’s six-week, nationwide Project Wildfire. The crackdown netted members and associates of 239 different gangs that ranged from those connected to Mexican drug gangs like the Sureños and Norteños, to the Crips or Bloods street gangs, the Tiny Oriental Posse and the white supremacist Soldiers of Aryan Culture prison gang, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah R. Saldaña.”

LEAD program for low-level drug criminals sees success by Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times

“A real-world experiment that’s played out on the streets of Belltown over the past three years is producing significant results by interrupting thecycle of arrest, prosecution and incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders.”

Former Idaho inmate and paralegal girlfriend file federal lawsuit by John Funk, Idaho Press-Tribune

“A former Idaho Department of Correction inmate now housed in an Oregon facility and his paralegal are seeking $50 million in punitive and compensatory damages, saying they have faced retaliation from current and former IDOC staff for pursuing prison reform. The civil rights complaint was filed in U.S. District Court by Lance Wood and Renee McKenzie.”

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