Utah Prisons To Drop English-Only Rule After Inmate, Family Complaints


For the first time, the Utah Department of Corrections will allow prison inmates to converse with visitors in languages other than English, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The policy change is among significant revisions to the prison's general visitation policy set to take effect on August 1, modifications largely aimed at getting rid of rules based on outdated and overly broad gender stereotypes. Utah may be the only state with an English-only rule, according to research last year by three Yale Law School students. Signs at the prison alerted visitors that all conversations with inmates were to be conducted only in English. If another language was used during a visit, officers would interrupt the conversation and ask participants to speak English or even end the visit. The American Civil Liberties Union had many complaints about the policy from inmates and their family members, particularly mothers who wanted to speak to their sons or daughters in their native language.

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