An annual report to the Utah Legislature says the state's sex-offender treatment program significantly reduces recidivism but is hampered by funding limitations.

Sex offenders represent almost 28 percent of Utah's prison population, at 1,808 inmates as of Oct. 15. An average of 139 inmates are participating in the 18-month-long treatment program at any given time, according to the report. Participation by inmates is voluntary and carries a lot of weight with the Board of Pardons and Parole when it sets parole dates for inmates.

The report says the overall return rate for sex-offender treatment completers in Utah is less than half of the overall return rate for non-completers.

On the other hand, the report says, the last infusion of new money into the program dates to 1996. Participation in the program has remained flat instead of growing with the increasing size of the prison system's sex offender population because of the flat funding.