MANILA, Daggett County — Calling the allegations against the staff of the Daggett County Jail "distressing," the Utah Department of Corrections announced Friday it will not be returning inmates there any time soon.
“This case involves multiple, distressing allegations among line staff and command staff in the Daggett County Jail. These are serious, criminal allegations, involving unprofessional conduct and unacceptable correctional practices, which put the inmates and the public in jeopardy," Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook said in a prepared statement.
“Because of the gravity of the allegations and the possible involvement at many levels of the Daggett County Sheriff’s Office, the case deserves a thorough and careful review, which will take time," Cook continued.
In February, approximately 80 inmates were moved out of the Daggett County Jail and into the state prison because of allegations of misconduct.
On Wednesday, it was announced that jail commander Lt. Ben Lail had submitted his resignation and two corrections officers had been fired.
Friday, Cook said the investigation isn't over.
"Current sheriff’s office command staff continue to be subjects of the investigation, and we remain apprehensive about returning inmates to the jail under its current culture. State inmates will not be returned to the jail at this time. Future administrative actions will factor in our decision-making for potential inmate placement," Cook said.
Daggett County commissioners and the county attorney’s office are cooperating with the investigation, he said The case has been turned over the Utah Attorney General's Office with copies of the investigation also going to the FBI and Peace Officer Standards and Training.
Details about what kind of misconduct was happening at the jail has not been released.
The Utah Attorney General's Office confirmed Friday that it has received the case and is reviewing it. Spokesman Dan Burton said the office realizes the significant impact this case is having on the county so they have moved the screening of this case to the top of their list. He did not know, however, how long it will take to reach a decision.
Daggett County, Utah's smallest county, typically receives between $110,000 and $115,000 per month to house state inmates. The county has lost more than $200,000 since the inmates were removed.
Annually, state payments for jail inmates make up nearly 30 percent of the county's revenue — or about $1.4 million in 2016, according to Utah's transparency website.
“We recognize the significant financial impact the removal of state inmates has to the county and its citizens, and we are committed to working with the county leadership to come to a resolution," Cook said in his statement.