Utah jails can help with prison bed crunch
Utah Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday encouraging the state to rely more on county jails to handle growing numbers of inmates and rising incarceration costs.
The Utah Department of Corrections currently contracts with 20 county jails, which together house more than 20 percent of state inmates. The department expects to use jails to handle future growth, which it estimates at 24 female inmates and 108 male inmates per year. Some counties such as Beaver, San Juan, Kane and Millard now provide substance abuse and sex offender programming. The resolution says that as Utah considers closing the Utah State Prison and building a new facility, it should also consider making more use of under-used and less costly county jails.