Week ending Aug. 2, 2015

UTAH STATE PRISON

Utah’s maximum-security prisoners are on a hunger strike by Michael McFall, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Maximum-security inmates at the Utah State Prison are on a hunger strike, reportedly demanding — among other things — that gang leaders be moved elsewhere in the prison. On Friday morning, 42 of the inmates refused to eat breakfast and told the staff that “they are beginning a hunger strike,” according to a Utah Department of Corrections news release.”

Force feeding a legal option in Utah prison hunger strike, but difficult by Michael McFall, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Dozens of maximum-security inmates continued their hunger strike Saturday, and the prison staff plans another round of check ups on Monday. The 42 inmates are documented gang members and have “given the department a list of demands that includes release of gang leaders now housed in a different maximum-security unit” to other housing within the prison, according to a Utah Department of Corrections news release.”

Prison inmates start hunger strike, demand gang leaders’ release from maximum security by Ben Lockhart, Deseret News

“Forty-two maximum security inmates began a hunger strike at the Utah State Prison on Friday, hoping to use it as leverage for a list of demands, corrections officials said.”

ACLU of Utah supports maximum security inmates on hunger strike at Utah State Prison by Mark Green, Fox 13 News

“Officials with the Utah Department of Corrections have provided more information about a hunger strike currently being carried out by 42 inmates at the Utah State Prison, and the ACLU of Utah issued a press release stating they support the strike as an effort for relief from specific conditions faced by the inmates.”

ACLU says prisoners want improved living conditions, more opportunity by Celeste Tholen Rosenlof and Ben Lockhart, KSL.com

“Sunday, the Utah ACLU released a statement supporting the striking prisoners in a Utah prison facility, encouraging the Utah Department of Corrections to reassess several of the issues outlined in the inmates’ letter. The department said, however, that it has been working over the last several months to address those issues.”

Weber State Track coach isn’t helping inmates run from the law; he just helps them run by Doug Robinson, Deseret News

“In many ways, Isaac Wood has prepared his whole life to coach and work with runners, but he never thought it would land him behind bars, in prison.”

UDC Press Release: Department monitoring inmates participating in hunger strike

UDC Press Release: Hunger strike update

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PRISON RELOCATION

Opinion: Utah prison volunteers provide a caution against a distant relocation by Drew Clark, Deseret News

“Utah’s rate of voluntarism is the highest in the nation, and that apparently extends to the number of individuals that serve as mentors, trainers or religious volunteers within the walls of the Utah State Prison.”

Resolutions on Medicaid expansion, prison relocation are weeks, maybe months away by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“By the end of the week, two of the biggest issues facing the state were supposed to be resolved. But state leaders are going to miss their self-imposed deadlines by weeks if not months.”

Prison relocation: Salt Lake City site most expensive in short  term, cheapest in the long run by Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Salt Lake City is the most expensive place to build a new state prison, but it is the cheapest place to run one, according to recent reports provided to the Prison Relocation Commission, which is expected to recommend one of four sites by the end of August.”

Herbert tours state prison to weigh rebuild in Draper by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News/KSL.com

“Gov. Gary Herbert took a four-hour tour of the Utah State Prison on Tuesday to see firsthand the pluses and minuses of rebuilding on the Draper site rather than relocating the 4,000-bed facility.”

Herbert tours prison with eye toward rebuilding by Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Utah Corrections chief Rollin Cook had a captive audience Tuesday and it wasn’t state inmates. Gov. Gary Herbert and top advisers spent four hours touring the Utah State Prison, giving Cook a chance to show his boss the cramped buildings in disrepair and explain why he believes it is time to build a new lockup on a different site.”

Is report on building prison in Draper conclusive or ‘lipstick on a pig’? by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“Opponents of moving the Utah State Prison from Draper are criticizing a recently released study that says putting a new facility on the Point of the Mountain site would be costly and present security risks.”

OPINION

Moving the prison would present economic opportunity for Utah by Jeff Edwards, president/CEO, Economic Development Corporation of Utah, in the Deseret News

“Utah’s economy is on a roll. Our state has received national accolades for quality job growth, low unemployment, innovation and economic diversity. And thanks to a well-educated workforce, vibrant research universities and a high quality of life, Utah is well positioned for continued success.”

Letter: Draper real estate

UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

Ex-Davis High teachers gets 2017 parole hearing in student sex case by The Associated Press in the Deseret News

“A former Davis High School English teacher convicted of sexually abusing three male students will get her first chance at parole in January 2017.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

10 ways corrections officers would improve their facilities by CorrectionsOne.com

“If you were in charge at your place of work, what’s the one big change that you would make? This is always easier said than done, but we posed this question to our Facebook followers to see what kind of changes corrections officers all over the nation would prefer to see not only in their facilities, but in the corrections profession in general. The answers weren’t too surprising – most suggestions tied back to wanting a safer work environment and well-educated employees. Check out the ten most common responses that made the list.”

OPINION: For true penal reform, focus on the violent offenders by John Pfaff, professor, Fordham Law School, in The Washington Post

“This month, President Obama commuted the long sentences of 46 federal prisoners convicted of drug crimes, and over the next few days he laid out his vision for criminal justice reform in speeches to the NAACP and at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma. Prison reformers hailed these events as important steps forward in the effort to rein in the sprawling U.S. prison system.

Sheriff’s Department Urban Farming Program Looks to Grow Success, Reduce Recidivism by East Boston Times-Free Press

“The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is once again hard at work planting the seeds for the potential success of at the House of Correction. Literally.”

Obama’s Plan to Restore Pell Grants for Prisoners Gets Mixed Reviews by Josh Mitchell and Joe Palazzolo, The Wall Street Journal

“The Obama administration’s plan to restore funding for in-prison college programs won praise from inmate advocates Tuesday, alongside allegations that officials are ignoring the will of Congress and eschewing the needs of law-abiding students.”

Meet the Last Man Standing Who Thinks Criminal Justice Reform is a Terrible Idea by Mark Obbie, Slate

“On the second day of the Federalist Society’s annual National Lawyers Convention last fall, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey opened his segment of a panel discussion with a joke: “And now a word from the Luddite wing of the panel.” Mukasey was one of four criminal-justice experts on stage for what was billed as “a conversation among conservatives” about criminal justice reform.”

100 Million Reasons We Need Justice Reform — One Blueprint for How to Do It by Christine Leonard, Executive Director of the Coalition for Public Safety, on the Huffington Post

“2.3 million. That’s the number of Americans incarcerated. That’s more than the population of New Mexico. Nebraska. West Virginia. Idaho. Vermont. Montana. Hawaii. Maine. New Hampshire.”

Michigan judges get more leeway in sentencing by Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press

“In a decision that could have a far-reaching impact on current and future cases going through the court system, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state’s sentencing guidelines that mandate prison terms are unconstitutional, and that judges should use them only in an advisory capacity.”

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