The State Office of Education is seeking a $326,400 infusion of funds to increase educational opportunities at the Utah State Prison. That amount would bring the total to $441,000, the figure recommended by a Corrections advisory committee.
The state office contracts with Jordan School District to provide education for prisoners. Programs include basic education, high school completion, vocational education and some college courses.The office took over the educational program from Corrections in 1988. In its presentation to the Legislature's Joint Public Education Appropriations Committee, the office made these points:
-In 1986, the Department of Corrections spent more than $650,000 for educational services.
-In 1988, the State Office of Education received only $114,600 from corrections to provide the services. Funding from other sources created a total of $388,500.
-The inmate population has increased from approximately 1,000 in 1980 to more than 2,000 in 1988. The number is expected to reach 4,000 by 1996. New prison facilities in Cedar City and Gunnison will increase the caseload and require additional educational services.
-The average length of stay for prisoners increased from 20 months in 1983 to 26 months in 1988.
-The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened lawsuits if inmates who meet criteria for special education services do not receive those services.