Utah’s state prison system is running out of room for inmates

Jun 19, 2019, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm
utah state prison...
(Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah prison system is running out of room, lawmakers heard from the Department of Corrections this week.

The executive director of the corrections department, Mike Haddon, told legislators at a committee hearing Tuesday the system added 21 new inmates every month in the last year.

“It’s probably the largest increase we’ve seen in the state of Utah,” Haddon said. “So that’s causing us some sense of alarm.”

That growth rate is among the highest in the nation and is also the state’s biggest prison population increase in at least 20 years, Haddon said.

“We’re working on identifying what is driving this demand for bed space,” Haddon said. “We need to look at what’s driving this population because the growth is simply not sustainable.”

The new prison being built west of Salt Lake City International Airport will have fewer beds than the existing state prison, located in Draper. So Haddon says corrections officials have capped the population at the Draper facility to match for now. But he says they will need more beds. Right now, there are just 199 that are open.

Haddon told lawmakers one solution could be to add more bunks to the Gunnison facility, which is fully staffed.

“If we add extra bunks, we don’t necessarily need additional custody or security staff to manage those units,” Haddon said.

Adding extra beds at county jail facilities, Haddon said, would be only a temporary fix and would not address the long-term growth issues.


Hatch courthouse...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Utah’s longest serving senator, Orrin Hatch, dies at 88

Orrin Hatch, Utah's longest serving senator, has died at age 88.
5 months ago
Pictured here are items seized from one of four drug busts authorities in Carbon County conducted o...
Mark Jones

Carbon County authorities make significant drug busts

Authorities in Carbon County, with a search warrant, have conducted four drug busts over the past three weeks.
5 months ago
Mark Jones

Soap box derby set for Saturday in Daybreak

Daybreak will host the second annual Soap Box Derby on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
5 months ago
State street traffic sign...
Samantha Herrera

State Street traffic restrictions starting soon

State Street traffic restrictions are slated to start soon and continue into August. Work will impact areas downtown and near the Capitol.
5 months ago
Garth Brooks Salt Lake...
Simone Seikaly

Garth Brooks sells out second Salt Lake concert in 45 minutes

It was the second time in less than a year that Garth Brooks sold that many tickets for a Salt Lake City concert so quickly.
5 months ago
A Smith's recycling bin...
Devin Oldroyd

Recycle single-use plastic at your local Smith’s

In honor of Earth Month, Smith's Food & Drug is encouraging its customers to recycle thin-filter plastic materials at their local stores.
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah’s state prison system is running out of room for inmates