When a friend or loved one ends up in prison, it’s a grueling experience for all involved as the inmate and his or her supporters try to adjust to the rules, regulations and restrictions of a life separated by bars. The Utah Prisoner Advocate Network is a non-profit community organization that aims to make navigating that new life less complicated and lonely for inmates’ supporters while also advocating for better conditions inside Utah jails and prisons.
- To provide a safe and understanding place for families and friends of incarcerated individuals to connect and share their challenges and receive support and information to help them more effectively cope on their prison journey.
- Offer support and assistance to incarcerated individuals by identifying challenges and problems faced by inmates as they serve their sentences, and to communicate with prison officials and the Utah Department of Corrections administration to address and resolve these problems.
- Provide education and information to both the family and friends of inmates as well as the general public for the purpose of improving the level of understanding of what happens in the prison system and how things work which ultimately impact prisoners, their families and support systems, as well as the community at large. This will be accomplished by providing public discussion groups, forums, panels, lectures, or other similar programs, as well as dissemination of information through electronic media.
- Offer information about resources available to families and ex-offenders once they are released from the institution to community to assist the parolee to rebuild their lives in a pro-social manner.
- To create a network of prison family and friends who can contact each other for help and support when various issues come up. To create a therapeutic environment meant to guide each other on who to talk to when a serious problem arises so that we can all effectively learn how to navigate the prison system for the benefit of everyone involved.
- Hold monthly meeting on the 2nd Monday of each month around the Salt Lake Valley. At these meetings we have guest speakers, discussions and a variety of other things to educate and support. We welcome anyone who needs the support or would like to help our cause.
- Keep the public informed by providing an email group to circulate information about our meetings, the happenings at the prison, articles that are relevant to inmates and families, and other pertinent information.
- To identify challenges and problems faced by inmates as they serve their sentences, and then work with prison officials and the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) administration to resolve these problems. UDC’s mission, prison policies, and how they’re carried out have a direct impact on the quality of life for those living portions of their lives in prison. This in turn affects their families and support networks. Since the Department of Corrections has committed to collaborate with other agencies, organizations and systems to provide both community safety and rehabilitation of prisoners—UPAN strives to become one of those organizations that help to contribute to solution of problems and the rehabilitation of inmates.
- We want to improve the level of understanding of what happens in prison and how things work for the families of inmates, as well as educate the public about the truth and whole picture of having a loved one in prison. We work to dispel the growing amount of circulating misinformation by directing people to official resources.
- Answer inmate letters. Inmates can write UPAN with concerns, ideas, or information. When inmates have issues that need to be addressed with the prison we do not typically get involved unless there are no family or friends to help them.
UPAN is a proud coalition member of People Not Prisons, a group of advocacy groups working on behalf of people with mental health conditions, people recovering from substance use disorders, and men and women caught up in Utah’s criminal justice system. Our Coalition includes but is not limited to: Odyssey House; First Step House; Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA); Utah Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (UAATP); Utah AFL-CIO; Disability Law Center; Utah Prison Support; ACLU of Utah; New Roads Behavioral Health; Utah Prisoner Advocate Network (UPAN); The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City; and several individual criminal justice reform advocates from various Utah communities.
Useful Information for Inmates:
We receive a lot of requests from inmates to send the minutes from our meetings and other information. We have recently started a monthly newsletter. We want you to have the information but we have very little time and financial resources. We ask if you have family or friends that have access to the internet and email that you ask them to email us and get on our email list and have them print and send you the information we are sending out. That will streamline getting information out to as many as possible. If you do not have loved ones that can do that for you please write us and request the newsletter and other information and we will mail what we can to you. Our email address is: [email protected]
Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 464 Draper, UT 84020
WE DO NOT OFFER ANY LEGAL SERVICES AND DO NOT HAVE LEGAL COUNSEL, PLEASE DO NOT SEND US YOUR LEGAL DOCUMENTS.