Audit: Prison Program's Management, Methods Shaky

By Reavy, Pat | Deseret News (Salt Lake City), April 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Audit: Prison Program's Management, Methods Shaky


Reavy, Pat, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Department of Corrections' Sex Offender Treatment Program is plagued by poor management, weak oversight and uses out-of-date methods to treat offenders, according to an audit released Monday.

The critical report from the Utah Legislative Auditor General found several areas where the program - which inmates convicted of sex-related crimes at the Utah State Prison are required to complete before being released - is inadequate. Much of that is due to how the program is being run.

"The division's failure to monitor and hold (Sex Offender Treatment Program) management accountable has allowed program deficiencies to continue," according to the report. "SOTP is not in compliance with several statutes that require they use the most current evidence-based practices, that they establish goals and performance measures."

The report also noted that recommendations made from an internal 2011 audit had yet to be implemented.

The Utah Department of Corrections officials responded Monday by saying they are aware of the problems and that the program "is undergoing significant changes" that started last year.

"We identified fundamental flaws in the way the SOTP was operating," Executive Director Rollin Cook said in a prepared statement. "Upon learning of the legislative audit, we paused our internal review to wait for guidance on the direction of the program based on the audit's findings. We appreciate the legislative auditor's recommendations, which we plan to act upon quickly and will strengthen and inform the process we already began."

In November, Cook appointed a new Institutional Programming Division director who specializes in sex offender treatment.

Among the new audit's other findings:

* Program performance is not tracked by management.

* Existing resources aren't utilized efficiently to treat sex offenders.

* The current treatment model is not in compliance with the most current practices and lacks scientific evidence that it actually reduces recidivism.

* Specialized treatment for offenders with disabilities is lacking. …

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