Inmates at Utah State Prison graduate from college through SLCC program

Jul 10, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 3:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly two dozen inmates at the Utah State Prison graduated college on Monday through a Salt Lake City Community College program. 

Monday’s graduation marked the first graduating class since SLCC’s Prison Education Program restarted in 2017. This was also the first group to graduate since the prison moved from Draper to Salt Lake City.

Most of the 23 students got their associate degree in general studies.

Paul Wach was among those who got to put on a cap and gown.

“I’m learning to make wiser choices now, which is a consequence of having [an] education. It improved my self-esteem and thus helped me to have a more positive attitude toward the future.”

Sione Kauvaka was another graduate that got his degree on Monday, with his family in the crowd celebrating him.

“Education opened my eyes to the reality of my condition. And it became important to meet to take charge of my life, secure my future and try and enlighten those around me.”

Salt Lake Community College Director of Prison Education David Bokovoy said these inmates had to overcome many obstacles to get their diplomas. Bokovoy said many of the graduates had to overcome mental health struggles and work in a tough environment to graduate.

“What a remarkable accomplishment to be able to stand forward and pursue those quests and that goal in the face of such challenges.”

Bokovoy said he’s hopeful because research indicates that a large percentage of inmates that get a degree in prison will never go back. 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Colleges + Unversities

(Photo Thad Kelling, Lassonde Institute) Follow @amandadickson...

Amanda Dickson

Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute takes students ideas to real life

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah brings together 6,000 students from freshmen to Ph.D. candidates each year.

7 days ago

bomb threat Utah Tech...

Mark Jones

Utah Tech police continue to investigate alleged assault

In wake of alleged assault of a Utah Tech student last weekend, campus police have issued several safety tips for students to follow.

8 days ago

Orem high fire...

Cassidy Wixom,

2 Utah women killed in Arizona crash

The two women, who were from St. George, were with a group heading to Las Vegas when the accident happened.

8 days ago

bomb threat Utah Tech...

Mark Jones

Utah Tech police looking for suspect in alleged assault incident

Police on the campus of Utah Tech University are searching for a suspect who allegedly assaulted a student over the weekend.

9 days ago

student at the university of utah walks past "U" statue...

Adam Small

Excitement and concern as the U of U expands on-campus housing

The University of Utah is opening up more on-campus housing today.  It is trying to double the number of on-campus beds by 2030.

12 days ago

Utah’s head coach Tom Farden leads the team in a chant after winning the Pac-12 Gymnastics Champi...

Kira Hoffelmeyer

Utah gymnastics coach probe finds no evidence of severe abuse

The athletics department said it would work with Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden on ways to better engage with athletes under his charge. 

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Inmates at Utah State Prison graduate from college through SLCC program