Utah Jail Deaths Utah State Prison

April 20, 2017

Investigating jail deaths in Northern Utah

Utah has the most jail deaths per capita in the nation,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Weber and Davis counties are among the worst in the state, outstripping even more populous Salt Lake County in death rates, data gathered by the Standard-Examiner shows. The following story archive is the first part of a yearlong effort by the Standard-Examiner to report on the people behind the mugshots and how they died.

Stories by jail

Scroll down to read more about this issue, or select a button below to filter our coverage by jail.

Ogden man's death in prison leaves troubling questions for 'devastated' family
Thursday, March 17, 2016

OGDEN — One day after a Utah State Prison inmate from Ogden died after a reported attack by another prisoner, his defense attorney called his death “a tragedy” and said his family is waiting for answers.

Widow of Trece gang member killed in prison sues state for $20M
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY — The widow of an Ogden man stabbed and beaten to death at the Utah State Prison has filed a $20 million suit against the state Department of Corrections, saying guards ignored warnings the victim was in danger from members of a rival gang.

Many question Ogden woman's treatment at prison where she died
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NORTH OGDEN — The family of an inmate found dead in her cell in Utah State Prison in Draper is still receiving letters from inmates questioning how Priscilla Chavez was treated by correctional officials.

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Mark Shenefelt and Nadia Pflaum directly at:


Stories on jail policies

Deaths in Utah's county jails support advocates' zero fatalities goal
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Utah’s county jails have elaborate policies aimed at safeguarding sick or suicidal inmates, but a spate of deaths has fostered concerns about a shaky safety net for those who go behind bars.

Jail deaths trigger levels of investigative machinery
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When someone dies behind bars in Utah, multiple investigations quickly begin. But if the inmate’s passing appears to be medically related, there’s usually no public announcement or news coverage.

New avenues sought for drug detox in Utah jails
Sunday, August 28, 2016

OGDEN — Substance abuse treatment professionals are chipping away at practices in Utah jails they say can force inmates to endure painful and dangerous cold-turkey withdrawals from narcotics addictions.

Suicide Watch: Jails work to help inmates, prevent casualties
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

OGDEN -- Sandy Grattan continues to mourn her brother who died on June 8, 2014 by hanging himself in the Weber County Jail, just a few hours after being booked in.

Utah judge OKs lawsuit over delayed defendant treatment, hospital crowding
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s system of handling mentally ill criminal defendants appears to be failing, a federal judge said in allowing a civil rights lawsuit to proceed against the state.