State audit criticizes Utah corrections department oversight

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state audit released Thursday criticized the Utah Department of Corrections for a lack of standards and poor monitoring of jails.

The analysis by the Office of the State Auditor also examined inmate abuses at Daggett County jail, which was closed in 2017.

The corrections department did not detect misconduct, such as guards torturing inmates, until the issues were so apparent that the department removed all 80 Daggett County inmates, the audit said.

Auditors scrutinized the department’s Inmate Placement Program, which places state inmates in local jails rather than one of two state prisons.

The program manages about a quarter of all state inmates and operates with a budget of more than $31 million, the audit said.

The audit called the situation at Daggett County Jail a “significant failure by IPP, as those responsible for monitoring the jail failed to detect any improper or inhumane conduct.”

State auditors found the placement program’s management was “minimally briefed” and remained unaware of the majority of issues at the county jail.

Auditors reported the placement program does not adequately track or address issues that can arise in local jails.

In a response published with the audit, Department of Corrections Director Mike Haddon said his office was relying on standards created by the Utah Sheriffs’ Association to ensure the Daggett County jail was functioning properly.

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