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Female inmates sue in bid for equality

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A dozen female inmates from the state prison system are asking for the same education and employment opportunities afforded their male counterparts.

According to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed recently in 3rd District Court, the state allegedly engages in "systematic discrimination against Utah's female inmate population."

The civil suit is more than 100 handwritten pages.

Female inmates in Utah are denied vocational training programs and jobs with Utah Correctional Industries, as well as college classes offered to male inmates, the suit says.

"The monies that are available are always put into projects for the male population," the suit states. "We are never included in the equation."

The lawsuit names, among others, the state Department of Corrections and Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Corrections deputy director Jesse Gallegos had no comment on the pending lawsuit. Gallegos, however, did say the department is constantly challenged with ways to fund both male and female prison programs.