CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Prison populations are rising locally and nationally

Feb 23, 2024, 1:41 PM | Updated: 1:46 pm

A barbed wire fence is shown at a utah prison, whose populations are rising quickly...

FILE- A guard tower at the Utah State Prison on Monday, Sept, 14, 2020. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Prison populations are rising nationally, and in Utah.

New data from the Department of Justice shows U.S. prison populations increased 2.1% in 2022, and the number of inmates in Utah grew by 1.7%. However, Utah’s Department of Corrections claims it went up even more than that last year.

“We saw a 6.4% increase in 2023, which equates to approximately 390 inmate increase,” said Utah Department of Corrections Director of Communications and Government Relations Glen Mills.

Mills blames the increase on a growing population.

“You are seeing growth in the state of Utah like you are across the country,” Mills stated. “Again, one of the contributing factors, obviously, is that we are a growing state and as a result of that we will see populations within our prison system grow as well.”

About 6,400 of the 7,000 spots in the state’s prisons and jails have been filled at this point.

Officials are now brainstorming what to do in the future if these increases continue.

“It’s probably safe to say that we are going to continue to see an increase,” Mills said, “So we will have to plan accordingly.”

Related: Cop talks knocking down violent crime in Ballpark Neighborhood

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Prison populations are rising locally and nationally