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  • There remains a host of problems with the Utah criminal justice system. The latest involves the length of the average prison stay. According to data from the Utah Department of Corrections, the average prison stay is three months longer than it was almost a decade ago. In 2015, the typical inmate served 26.03 months; up from 22.94 seven years ago.


    The extra time, is seems is attributable to lack of treatment.

    .Inmates, particularly Utah sex offenders, are required to receive treatment before they are eligible for parole. However, the Utah Legislature hasn’t approved additional funding for treatment programs since 1996. So many inmates are waiting longer to receive the treatment because there are no vacant spots, which, in turn, pushes parole dates back.

    Moreover, some say that judges are basing their sentencing decisions on the presumption that inmates will receive treatment in prison in a timely manner and thereafter become eligible for parole.

    But this isn’t happening and inmates are serving much longer sentences than the judges are led to believe.

    .As a result, Corrections Director Tom Patterson is asking the Utah Legislature for more money to help provide the much needed treatment to inmates.

    Some say that if additional funding isn’t provided, the time frame to receive treatment will only get longer. Data shows that since 1996, the Utah sex offender population has increased 150 percent and continues to grow.

    Due to the increased timeframes, more bed space is also needed. At present capacity, the projected measures will peak bed capacity in 2015. In addition to asking for more money for treatment, Patterson is also asking the legislature for $30 million to expand the prison at Gunnison.

    It remains to be seen, however, what action the Utah Legislature will take and whether more money will be allocated to the Utah Department of Corrections.

    Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah inmates staying in prison longer than in past.