Volunteer With These 4 Organizations Supporting Utah Inmates

As a society, we can forget that the men and women in U.S. prison systems are our parents, siblings, relatives, colleagues, friends, and neighbors. They face a wide range of charges and sentences. Some come from difficult childhoods. Others battle addiction or are serving time for a lapse in judgement.  There’s no justifying breaking the law, but everyone deserves an opportunity to get the extra support they need while serving a sentence.

Here are five non-profit organizations in Utah that offer services to inmates.

Utah Prisoner Advocate Network (UPAN)

UPAN’s mission is “To provide a safe and understanding place for families and friends of incarcerated individuals to connect and share their challenges and receive support and information to help them more effectively cope on their prison journey.”

What They Do

  1. Support inmates and their families navigate a life separated by bars. 
  2. Help inmates adjust to their new environment 
  3. Advocate for better conditions in all Utah jails and prisons

How They Do It

  1. Communicate with the Utah Department of Corrections and prison officials to address inmate challenges
  2. Offer education about what happens in prison through lectures, groups, panels, and more
  3. Provide a space where families of incarcerated individuals can connect and support each other
  4. Give resources to individuals upon being released from jail or prison to help them rebuild their lives

University of Utah Prison Education Project (UPEP)

At our very own University of Utah, students are making a difference in prison systems through “on-site higher education, empirical research, and advocacy.” UPEP focuses on supporting incarcerated students and follows best practices laid out by the practices laid out by the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison.

What They Do

  1. Make four-year degrees possible for two groups of students inside the Draper and Timpanogos correctional facilities
  2. Research postsecondary education in prisons
  3. Collaborate with national organizations to improve advocacy for inmates

How They Do It

  1. Offer GED courses through South Park Academy, a General Education Certificate through Salt Lake Community College, and upper division undergraduate courses through UPEP
  2. Publish studies about education levels in prison related to equity challenges, racial justice, and more
  3. Attend the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison and participates in discourse about improving opportunities for education in prison

Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) Volunteer Programs

The UDC is always looking for volunteers to help with their collection of inmate programs. Learn more to get involved. These programs are service-oriented, skill-based, or intended to improve mental or physical health. For instance, inmates have the opportunity to learn how to crochet warm items for refugees every year. They can also participate in family history research or learn to play a musical instrument. 

Another UDC initiative, the Bedtime Stories initiative, invites parents to read a book or sing to their child while a volunteer records them. That volunteer then sends the recording to the inmate’s family to enjoy. The UDC also offers mentorship programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and a variety of church services. 

Enduring life separated from family is truly heartbreaking, but thanks to these organizations, inmates can spend their time behind bars growing and progressing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—if they choose. 

Prison Fellowship in Utah

For religious inmates, or inmates open to exploring their spirituality, Prison Fellowship is a national non-profit organization that’s active in Utah and “helps restore men and women behind bars.” It also serves inmates’ families and advocates for change in the prison system. This organization believes restoring imprisoned men and women through Gospel teachings will reduce the number of repeat incarcerations, ultimately reducing the $80 billion the U.S. puts into operating prisons.  

What They Do

  1. Run jail and prison programs that share messages of hope
  2. Bring hope to inmates’ families
  3. Play a role in reforming the U.S. prison system

How They Do It

  1. Host fellowship groups and ministries to talk about and share Christian beliefs
  2. Provide funding to inmates’ families on holidays and for kids’ activities
  3. Offer advocacy education and encourage people to join prison reform efforts

Know someone facing time in prison?

The lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat have been representing clients in Utah for decades. They fight for the rights of their clients and are committed to playing a part in improving the laws that exist. 

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, we will work with you to find a strong defense and help you get the best outcome.

Give us a call at (801) 532-5297 so we can start working on your case today.

Citations

https://utahprisoneradvocate.org/about-upan/

https://prisonfellowship.org

https://prisoneducationproject.utah.edu

https://corrections.utah.gov/volunteer/volunteer-programs/

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