Despite the doubling of Utah's inmate population in the past decade, the state's incarceration rate still is half the Western states' average, statistics show.

In its 1989 annual report, the Department of Corrections noted that Utah's prison system had 2,292 inmates last year, a 124 percent increase over the 1,022 incarcerated in 1980.The overcrowding forced the state to build new satellite prisons at Cedar City and Gunnison, the department said.

Utah's 117 per 100,000 population incarceration rate is half the Western states' average of 234, Utah Corrections officials said. By comparison, Nevada ranks highest with 449, and Arizona is second at 333, the agency's report stated.

A profile of the crimes committed by Utah inmates shows that roughly a quarter of the prisoners were convicted of sex offenses, with the largest single category involving children, the report said.

Nearly half of all inmates are high school dropouts, while another third never attended school beyond the 12th grade. An ethnic profile indicates 69 percent are white, 16 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black, 2 percent are American Indian, 1 percent are Asian and 3 percent are of unknown origin.

Most inmates range between 20 and 35 years of age. Twenty percent are military veterans.

The Iron County-Utah State Correctional Facility - opened in 1987 - is the only one in Utah operated jointly by the state and the county. It houses 100 state inmates with medium to minimum security classifications.


(Additional information)

Prisoner profile

Type of offense

Sex crimes against children 300

Burglary, theft 550

Robbery 305


Males Females

Murder 218 8

Robbery 291 14

Drugs 111 7


Mormon 70 percent

Catholic 22 percent

Protestant 13 percent


White 69 percent

Hispanic 16 percent

Black 8 percent

American Indian 2 percent

Asian 1 percent