Guide for Inmates with Disabilities at the Utah State Prison (USP)

Fact Sheet
Updated: 9 months ago
Incarceration

Asking for Medical Treatment for a Disability

If you are sick or hurt because of a disability, ask to see a doctor. If you need to see a doctor right away, ask an officer to call “Medical”.

How to Ask to See a Doctor

  1. Get an “Inmate Care Request Form” from your housing officer, caseworker, or Lieutenant. These forms are sometimes also called “sick call requests” or “kites.” (State of Utah Department of Corrections, Division of Institutional Operations Utah State Prison, Inmate Orientation Handbook, Health Care, (pg. 19))
  2. Make sure you follow the directions on the form entirely. Fill in all the spaces. Clearly explain what is wrong and why you think you need to see a doctor.
  3. If you need help filling out this form, ask your housing officer to call your caseworker to come help you.
  4. Put the form in the “sick call box”. Do NOT place it in the mailbox.
  5. The medical staff will read your form and will decide how soon to see you. There may be someone else who is sicker than you, and the nurses and doctors will see those people first. You may have to wait a few days before you see a nurse. You should not have to wait more than seven (7) days for a nurse to see you. (Offender Health Services Handbook, 11th edition, clinical services, “What Happens after you submit a health care request” (pg. 5).
  • All health care requests are reviewed daily
  • All requests are scheduled for the next available provider clinic.
  • The schedule is determined by the clinical staff based on the severity of the problem; it is not first in- first seen.
  • Schedules will be posted in your housing area.
  • If you feel you have an emergency, tell an officer or clinical staff member.)

Asking for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that the prison cannot treat you differently because you have a disability. You should be able to take a class, go to a group, or live in your room without any problems because of your disability. If you cannot do one of these things because of your disability, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation means that the prison will make a change so that The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that the prison cannot treat you differently because you have a disability. You should be able to take a class, go to a group, or live in your room without any problems because of your disability. If you cannot do one of these things because of your disability, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation means that the prison will make a change so that it is possible for you to go to the class, go to the group, or live in your room. The following are examples of ADA accommodations:

  • a shower chair because you cannot stand;
  • a change in a program so that you can read the material and do the homework; or,
  • having information given to you in a way that you can understand.

How to Submit a Request for an ADA Accommodation

  1. Get an “ADA Request Form” from your caseworker or your housing officer. (State of Utah Department of Corrections, Division of Institutional Operations Utah State Prison, Inmate Orientation Handbook, ADA—Americans with Disabilities Act, (pg. 3)).
  2. Make sure you follow the directions on the form entirely. Fill in all the spaces. Clearly explain why you think you need the change. 
  3. If you need help filling out this form, ask your housing officer to call your caseworker to come help you. 
  4. Place the form in an envelope and write “Facility ADA Coordinator” on it. 
  5. Place the envelope in the prison mailbox. 
  6. Ask another inmate to watch you as you put your ADA Request Form in the prison mailbox. 
  7. Ask this inmate to write down the time and date that you put the ADA Request Form in the prison mailbox and to sign their name on that paper. 
  8. Keep the paper with the other inmate’s time, date, and signature so you can show the officers that someone else saw you mail your request.

Asking for Mental Health Help

If you want to ask for mental health help, follow the same procedure as when you ask to see a doctor — unless you need to see someone right away. If you need to see someone right away, tell the prison staff.

How to Ask for Mental Health Help

  1. Get an “Inmate Care Request Form” from your housing officer, caseworker, or Lieutenant. These forms are sometimes also called “sick call requests” or “kites”. (State of Utah Department of Corrections, Division of Institutional Operations Utah State Prison, Inmate Orientation Handbook, Mental Health, (pg 20)).
  2. Make sure you follow the directions on the form entirely. Fill in all the spaces. Clearly explain what is wrong and why you think you need to see a mental health person.
  3. If you need help filling out this form, ask your housing officer to call your caseworker to come help you.
  4. Put the form in the “sick call box”. Do NOT place it in the mailbox.

Asking for Your Medical Records from Your Doctors

Most of the information in your medical records should be given to you. Sometimes, a doctor can say that you cannot see your records. If a doctor thinks it would harm you to know what your records say, then you cannot see those records. (“HiPAA gives you important rights to access your medical record and to keep your information private … you do not have the right to access a provider’s psychotherapy notes.”)

How to Submit a Request for Your Health Records

  1. Write a letter to your doctor that states your name, the kinds of records you want, and the address where you want the doctor to send the records. 
  2. Ask the doctor to send you any forms you need to use to ask for your records. 
  3. Ask how much you have to pay to get your records. 
  4. If you get a form from your doctor, fill it out completely. If you need help filling out this form, ask your housing officer to call your caseworker to come help you. 
  5. The form that your doctor gives you may need to be notarized. If so, ask your housing officer to call a notary for you. Do not sign the form until the notary can come to see you sign it. 
  6. Mail the completed form and if needed, include the payment, to the doctor.

The Grievance Process

There are three (3) levels in the grievance process at the Utah State Prison. You may file a grievance when you think the prison has done something wrong. You need to know how long you have to file a grievance at each level. If you miss a deadline, you may have to start over or you might not be able to grieve your issue. If you encounter problems, write to “Management Services” at the prison and explain your problem.

How to File a Level One Grievance

You can file a grievance if the prison says you cannot see the doctor, or you cannot have the accommodation you requested.

  1. Ask your housing officer, caseworker, or Lieutenant for a grievance form. If you want to keep a copy for yourself, ask for two (2) forms. 
  2. Follow all the directions on the form. Fill in all the spaces. Clearly explain why you think you should have what you asked for. Only list one grievance on each form. If you have more than one grievance, you will need to fill out a grievance form for each issue. If you need help filling out the form, ask your housing officer to call your caseworker to come help you. 
  3. Write the date on the grievance form and sign your name. 
  4. Put your grievance form in an envelope If the prison did not answer any part of your Level One Grievance, you may appeal.

You can also appeal if you do not agree with what the prison said and still think you should get what you asked for. This appeal is called a Level Two Grievance.

  1. When you receive your written response to your Level One Grievance, you have five (5) working days to send a Level Two Grievance. A working day is Monday through Friday. Holidays do not count as working days. 
  2. If you did not receive a written response about your Level One Grievance, check the date that you sent your form. Count out twenty-one (21) working days, not including weekends and holidays, to determine which date you should have received a response by. If twenty-one (21) working days have passed, then count out five (5) more working days. You must send your Level Two Grievance by this date. 
  3. Ask your housing officer, caseworker, or Lieutenant for a Level Two Grievance form. If you want to keep a copy for yourself, ask for two (2) forms. 
  4. Clearly explain 1) why you disagree with what the prison said; 2) why you think you should have what you asked for; and 3) why you think it should not be denied. Be careful to focus on the issue in your first grievance. Do not add any new issues.
  5. Write the date on the grievance form and sign your name.
  6. Put your grievance form in an envelope. Write your name, inmate number, and housing unit in the upper left corner of the envelope. Check the box marked “Grievance”. Check the department that would deal with your issue. For example, if a doctor said you could not have medicine you want, check the “Medical” box. If you do not know which department covers your issue, check the “Other” box. You must check both the “Grievance” box and select a department box. 
  7. Put the envelope in the facility mail drop. Ask an inmate to watch you put your grievance in the envelope and in the facility mail drop. Ask this inmate to write down the time and date that you put the Grievance Form in the facility mail drop and to sign their name on that paper. Keep that paper for your records.

The prison must tell you their decision in a letter. They have twenty-one (21) days working days to write you this letter. A working day is Monday through Friday. Holidays do not count as working days. If you do not receive a letter, or if the letter says you still cannot have what you are asking for, you can then file a Level Three Grievance.

How to File a Level Three Grievance

If the prison didn’t answer any part of your Level Two Grievance, you may appeal. You can also appeal if you do not agree with what the prison said and still think you should get what you asked for. This appeal is called a Level Three Grievance. This grievance will go to the hearing officer who will review it and make a decision. You do not need meet with the hearing officer in person.

  1. When you receive your written response to your Level Two Grievance, you have five (5) working days to send a Level Three Grievance. A working day is Monday through Friday. Holidays don’t count as working days. 
  2. If you did not receive a written response about your Level Two Grievance, check the date that you sent your form. Count out twenty-one (21) working days, not including weekends and holidays, to determine which date you should have received a response by. If twenty-one (21) working days have passed, then count out five (5) more working days. You must send your Level Three Grievance by this date. 
  3. Ask your housing officer, caseworker, or Lieutenant for a Level Two Grievance form. If you want to keep a copy for yourself, ask for two (2) forms. 
  4. Fill out the form completely. Describe what you asked for that was refused, or not answered. Clearly explain why you think your grievance was not handled properly. 
  5. Write the date on the grievance form and sign your name. 
  6. Put your grievance form in an envelope. Write your name, inmate number, and housing unit in the upper left corner of the envelope. Check the box marked “Grievance”. Check the department that would deal with your issue. For example, if a doctor said you could not have medicine you want, check the “Medical” box. If you do not know which department covers your issue, check the “Other” box. You must check BOTH the “Grievance” box and select a department box. 
  7. Put the envelope in the facility mail drop. Ask an inmate to watch you put your grievance in the envelope and in the facility mail drop. Ask this inmate to write down the time and date that you put the Grievance Form in the facility mail drop and to sign their name on that paper. Keep that paper for your records.

The hearing officer will tell you their decision in a letter. They have twenty-one (21) days working days to write you this letter. A working day is Monday through Friday. Holidays do not count as working days. (State of Utah Department of Corrections, Division of Institutional Operations Utah State Prison, Inmate Orientation Handbook, Grievances, (pg. 19) also says “The inmate completes the first section [level one] of the grievance within 7 calendar days of knowing that a grievance exists.” And instead of “working days” it says “21 calendar days” for governmental response at all three levels, and “5 calendar days” for inmate to file higher level response.)

Getting Additional Help

Private Attorney: A private attorney may be able to help you. To find private attorney, ask your caseworker for a phonebook and look up attorneys who might work on your issue. These could be civil rights or disability rights attorneys. Utah State Prison (USP) Contract Attorney: The contract attorneys can sometimes help with the documents needed to file a lawsuit. These attorneys can only help you with two types of lawsuits:

  1. Lawsuits about whether you are legally in prison. These lawsuits are called “habeas corpus writs” and have nothing to do with whether you are guilty or innocent.
  2. Lawsuits about the conditions in prison. The contract attorneys cannot help you with criminal issues or appeals. The contract attorneys will not go to court for you. If you would like to meet with a contract attorney, ask your caseworker to make an appointment for you.

Resources

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The ACLU only works on constitutional violations. The ACLU does not give legal advice, and only files a few individual cases. The ACLU accepts cases that might affect a whole group of people, or that might change a rule or procedure.

355 North 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT
84103
(801) 521-9862
aclu@acluutah.org

 

United States Dept. of Justice (DOJ)

The DOJ helps people in jail or prison who are treated differently than other inmates because of a disability. If you think you are being treated differently because of your disability, you can file a complaint with the DOJ. The DOJ only takes a few cases. You may send your complaint by mail, fax, or email to the DOJ. Keep a copy of your complaint and the original documents for your own records.

950 Pennsylvania Ave,
NW Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
1425 NYAV Washington, D.C.
20530

Fax (202) 307-1197
ADA.complaint@usdoj.gov

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