Sep 7, 2022 - News

Families of inmates at new Utah prison hold vigil over "medical crisis"

Illustration of a jail cell door forming the shape of a red cross.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Advocates and the families of Utah inmates gathered at the state Capitol for a vigil Tuesday night to bring attention to the "medical crisis" at the new Utah State Correctional Facility.

  • The vigil was organized by the ACLU of Utah, Disability Law Center and the Utah Prisoners Advocate Network.

Driving the news: Officials from the Utah Department of Corrections last month said they encountered a glitch with their new medical records system, which led to inmates not receiving their medications.

  • As of Sept. 1, corrections officials said they had updated every incomplete medical record in their new system and had begun filling a backlog of medications.

Context: Thousands of inmates transitioned from the old state prison in Draper to the new site in Salt Lake City in July.

What they're saying: One woman, who declined to give her name but goes by the moniker "Seven," fears her diabetic father isn't getting the medical care he needs at the new state prison.

  • "This new prison was supposed to be better, but from all I've heard ... it's just as bad, if not worse, than the other prisons," she said at the vigil.

In a statement, UDOC communications director Kaitlin Felsted said officials recognized "the severity of the crisis."

  • "With each day, we continue to see a return to more normal operations, and we are optimistic that we will continue to see operations improve."

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