ACLU and Disability Law Center file law suit to make jail standards publicly available

    ACLU and Disability Law Center file law suit to make jail standards publicly available. (Photo: KUTV)

    (KUTV) - They’re the standards used in jails across Utah, but they’re not publicly available.

    Now, the ACLU and the Disability Law Center has filed suit against Davis County, saying those standards should be made available in the name of transparency.

    The standards outline how, any and all scenarios should be taken care of within a jail. That includes use of force, procedures regarding whether an inmate is male or female or for example what happens when an inmate takes his or her own life.

    Now this lawsuit stems from a series of records requests and appeals that have all ended in the denial of those standards being made public.

    The author of those standards lives down in Southern Utah, his name is Gary DeLand. He sold the standards to the state a long time ago, and has since sold them to more than a dozen other states too.

    He says they were designed to be used as an internal device for compliancy within the jail system and that’s how things should stay, adding that if they were public they would be used to highlight the shortcomings of jails, rather than their successes.

    One of the reasons the ACLU and the DLC wants access to them is regarding jail deaths.

    In 2016 alone, 25 inmates died in Utah jails.

    One of them was Lisa Ostler, she died in the Salt Lake County jail.

    Her parents, Kim and Calvin, live in Riverton and have since filed a lawsuit over her death.

    They too have been trying to get a copy of those jail standards and like everyone else have been unable to get their hands on them.

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