Utah, with its picturesque landscapes and serene natural beauty, is a state that holds a rich history. Amidst this history lies a unique facet, the Utah State Women’s Prisons, which has seen its evolution and development over the years. In this article, we will delve into the various locations of Utah’s women’s prisons and explore the intriguing narrative of their existence.

Historical Background of Utah Women’s Prisons

The history of women’s incarceration in Utah dates back to the 19th century when women were imprisoned alongside men in the Territorial Prison in Sugar House. This early practice reflected the societal norms of the time, where the segregation of genders in prisons was not a priority.

However, with the growing need for gender-specific rehabilitation and incarceration facilities, dedicated women’s prisons started emerging. The first official women’s prison in Utah was established in 1949 in Sugar House, which later moved to Draper in 1951.

Utah Women’s Prison Locations

Draper Prison: Located in Draper, Utah, this facility has been a cornerstone in the history of Utah women’s prisons. Over the years, it has witnessed numerous changes and developments, evolving from a small facility to a modern prison complex. Draper Prison has played a pivotal role in the rehabilitation and incarceration of female offenders.

Timpanogos Women’s Facility: Situated in Lehi, Utah, the Timpanogos Women’s Facility was opened in 2019. It represents a shift towards more modern and purpose-built incarceration centers with a focus on rehabilitation. This state-of-the-art facility aims to provide female inmates with the resources and support they need to reintegrate into society successfully.

State Hospital Secure Treatment Unit: While not a traditional prison, this unit, located in Provo, Utah, plays a critical role in the treatment and rehabilitation of female offenders with mental health needs. It underscores the importance of addressing mental health issues among incarcerated women and offering them appropriate care and support.

Out-of-State Facilities: At various points in time, Utah has also housed female inmates in out-of-state facilities due to capacity issues or other operational reasons. This practice has faced scrutiny and debate, raising questions about the impact of separating inmates from their home state and families.

Changes in Prison Locations Over Time

Over the years, the locations of Utah women’s prisons have seen significant changes. Draper Prison, in particular, has undergone expansions and relocations to accommodate the increasing population of female inmates. These changes reflect the state’s commitment to providing better facilities and services to incarcerated women.

Challenges and Controversies

Utah’s women’s prisons have not been without challenges and controversies. Overcrowding has been a persistent issue, raising concerns about the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs. Public perception and advocacy groups have played a vital role in addressing these challenges, pushing for reforms and improvements in the system.

Future Prospects and Reforms

Looking ahead, Utah is exploring expansion plans and rehabilitation initiatives aimed at improving the lives of incarcerated women and reducing recidivism rates. These efforts underscore the state’s commitment to the well-being and reintegration of female offenders into society.


What is the history of women’s incarceration in Utah?

Women’s incarceration in Utah has evolved from early co-ed facilities in the 19th century to dedicated women’s prisons like the one in Draper, established in 1949.

Are there any plans to address overcrowding in Utah women’s prisons?

Yes, Utah has initiated plans to address overcrowding, including expansion projects and improved rehabilitation programs.

How does the State Hospital Secure Treatment Unit benefit female inmates?

The State Hospital Secure Treatment Unit in Provo, Utah, focuses on treating and rehabilitating female offenders with mental health needs, aiming to provide them with the necessary care and support.

What role do advocacy groups play in the reform of Utah women’s prisons?

Advocacy groups in Utah play a significant role in raising awareness of issues within women’s prisons, advocating for better conditions, and influencing policy changes to enhance the rehabilitation of incarcerated women.