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Audit finds 'deficiencies' in Utah prison healthcare

Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 07, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — A new audit found “systematic deficiencies” in how Utah provides healthcare to prison inmates.

WATCH: Inmate claims Utah prisons mismanaged pandemic care

The findings in the audit from the Utah Legislative Auditor General says some inmates sick with COVID-19 waited days for follow-up exams or treatment.

While the audit found that “prison medical professionals are generally dedicated employees working to provide quality care," it added that "systemic deficiencies, at times, threaten the level of care provided.”

Auditors included the photos showing personal information and unused medications in a prison dumpster.

Utah Prison COVID Audit

The audit presented recommendations to address the healthcare issues which will be addressed by March 2022.

“We appreciate the close collaboration with the Utah Legislative Auditor General’s Office, and we are generally supportive of their findings,” said Brian Nielson, executive director for the Utah Department of Corrections. “We are committed to providing quality medical care to each person in our custody. Our team has already begun to address many of these areas of concern, and we have plans in place to find resolutions to these issues in the coming months.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Corrections reported a new coronavirus death, making it twenty dead in the state’s two prisons.

The FOX 13 investigative team reported in September how poor sanitation and a failure to isolate sick inmates helped spread COVID-19 in the prisons.

One inmate who died of COVID-19 last year was 48-year-old Jerry Gillespie who was serving a prison sentence of no more than five years. His family has filed a notice of claim — the first step toward a lawsuit — with the Utah Department of Corrections.