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Audit criticizes lack of prisoner oversight

Audit criticizes lack of prisoner oversight

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(KSL News and AP) A legislative audit says the Utah Department of Corrections isn't adequately monitoring prison inmates in county jails.

The audit was released Wednesday. It says a lack of oversight is putting the public at risk for an inmate escape.

The state sends some of its inmates to county jails because there is not enough room at the state prison. But the audit says the corrections department has failed to ensure security problems at some jails are being corrected.

The Department of Corrections agreed with every recommendation set forth in the legislative audit, while also noting efforts are already under way to address the areas identified by auditors.

For instance, it has established four independent contract monitor positions to continuously monitor jail contracts, as recommended in the audit, and is in the process of developing minimum measurable jail contract standards for jail contract compliance.

In Sept. 2007, a pair of convicted killers escaped from the Daggett County Jail and were on the run for six days before being caught in Wyoming. A month later another state inmate escaped from a jail in Beaver County. He was caught about five hours later.

The Utah Department of Corrections currently houses approximately 1,200 of its nearly 6,500 state inmates in 21 county jails throughout the state.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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