The Sheriff's Office has 2500 square feet of building space available for a potential partner. We would like to have the opportunity to meet with a potential partner and explain our program. You do not have to pay inmates medical insurance, FICA or any retirement benefits. We believe that this may be a great solution to any business in the State of Utah.
Only ten percent of the Inmates at the Utah County Jail Qualify to participate in the Jail Industries Program. These are the few in our jail that we feel strongly have the potential to successfully transition back into the community. The inmates first level, after our orientation that explains the rules and expectations of each inmate, is to work in our seven acre garden. We produce a multitude of vegetables, have a small orchard, grow flowers and work with a small hive of bees. We like to call our garden our Zen Garden. It is a peaceful place where the inmates can get some sun, enjoy the panoramic mountain view and work in the soil. Each year we produce approximately 100,000 pounds of vegetables. These vegetables are donated to the jail kitchen, to give fresh organic vegetables to the inmates to eat. We also donate to the Food and Care Coalition and to various senior centers. On one occasion after dropping off a truck load of vegetables to a senior center, one of the inmates was very quiet. When he spoke he said, “That is one of the coolest things I have ever done.” We often talk to the inmates about this being their opportunity to give back to society for the crimes they have committed and to walk out of our jail with confidence that they have done well. This is not only a productive time for growing vegetables and fruit but for growth and self evaluation from the inmates.
The inmates next level in the Jail Industries Program is working with a business. We have eleven businesses signed up who provide work for our inmates. In these economic hard times we are proud to say Jail Industries is a win-win situation. The businesses benefit by having a steady stream of inmates to work in their hard to place positions. Society benefits by reduction of recidivism, it costs $26,371.00 a year to house an inmate. If they don’t return that is tax money saved, and in fact that inmate is now paying taxes. The Sheriff’s office benefits by saving money in operation costs because a percentage of the wages earned by the inmate go to cover jail costs. The inmate benefits by having something productive to do and the potential of getting their life in order. They earn a wage and are released from jail with funds saved while in the program.
National statistics show that inmates in jails and prisons have approximately 68 percent chance of returning to jail within two years. If that inmate has a job his/her chances of returning to jail are reduced to approximately 24 percent. We are proud to say that some of our businesses hire our inmates after they leave jail, and in fact some have inmates who started in Jail Industries who are now working in management positions.
We would like to expand our program further by creating an In-house Jail Industries Program. We have renovated a 1700 square foot exercise yard and are now looking for the right business partner to accomplish this task. The work area is complete with wiring for all electrical projects including 480 power, an office, an 800 square foot storage area with shelving, In this area we will work with inmates who cannot leave the facility but show a potential to learn and improve their life.
Director and Sgt. JoAnn Murphy is currently running the Jail Industries Prgram. This program is one of the most successful programs in the United States.
Sgt. JoAnn Murphy along with Sheriff James O. Tracy will be holding a press conference on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:00 A.M. The meeting will be held in the "Jail Industries Building" which is located north west across the street from the County Jail.
Please contact Sgt. Murphy at 801-420-3496 with questions you may have.
Lt. Dennis Harris/Public Information Officer/Utah County Sheriff Office