Like all other individuals, inmates of the Utah Jail have been impacted by COVID-19. What can you do if you have a loved one or a family member who has been incarcerated? According to CNN, of the 2.3 million incarcerated people in the U.S., about 165,000 are over the age of 55. People in prison and jail are also more at risk.
As such, the Department of Corrections has temporarily suspended all visitation and volunteer work.
“These include Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. Our department will reevaluate this suspension in two weeks,” according to a statement from the corrections department.
“Incarcerated individuals have been notified that visiting is suspended, and we are encouraging them to continue utilizing phone calls and mail. Attorneys will be permitted to meet with offenders, but only through barrier visits at this time.
The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19 on April 3, 2020. In response, the following was posted:
05/11/2020: Visiting will remain on hold through June 1, at which time we will again reevaluate.
Recently we created a working group to identify more activities and programs to offer inmates while working by recommendations from the CDC and state officials. Our department is also exploring innovative ways to enhance inmates’ communication with families and friends.
In the meantime, we will continue to offer ten free 15-minute phone calls per week to each inmate.
Public Information Panels and volunteer activities continue to be postponed until further notice.
Visit coronavirus.utah.gov for statewide information.
There have also been some inmates who have been released early in response to COVID-19. More specifically, the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) is making referrals to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole (BOPP) to release incarcerated individuals who are already within 180 days of their scheduled release date and have an approved address.
You can learn more here: https://corrections.utah.gov/index.php/home/alerts-2/1239-utah-identifies-early-releases-to-create-additional-capacity-within-correctional-facilities