A federal magistrate has recommended a preliminary injunction be issued to prevent double-bunking at the Utah State Prison.
The injunction, which would be in effect pending a final ruling in the 5-year-old case, would affect 300 inmates at the prison's Wasatch Unit at the Point of the Mountain."The public has no interest in exposing inmates to unconstitutional conditions," U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce said. "Not only does such conduct defeat the correctional process, but in the long run it will hurt, if not severely damage, the public interest socially, politically and financially."
Boyce made the comments in a report Wednesday to U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene.
"It's a frustration that the inmates have won, even though the case hasn't been decided," said attorney Allan Larson, representing the Utah Department of Corrections.
"We've been in limbo for the past several years, not knowing what we can and can't do," he said. "We will object to the recommendation."
Michele Parish, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Utah Chapter, said her organization has not objected to double bunking in cells built to house two prisoners.
"We've objected to double bunking in sections of the prison not designed for that purpose," she said.