English-only rule scrapped at Utah prisons


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah prisoners will be allowed to talk with visitors in Spanish, French or any other language they want now that a long-standing English-only rule has been scrapped.

Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke says the rule for visitations was initially put in place as a safety measure so corrections officers could understand what was being said by inmates and visitors.

New corrections executive director Rollin Cook says he understood the free speech concerns expressed by the American Civil Liberties Union. He believes prison staff can still maintain safety while rules are made more progressive.

A Yale University study found Utah is the only state with an English-only rule at prisons.

The new policy, first reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, takes effect Aug. 1.

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