SALT LAKE CITY — Isaac knows that he served time in the Utah State Prison for a reason. He understands the public expects there to be consequences for his actions.
But what Isaac would like the public, including policymakers, to also recognize is that there are many inmates who want to turn their lives around. However, unless more resources and support are provided — particularly for mental health counseling — some inmates will fall right back into their old habits once they are released.
“Ultimately, (prison) is a punishment. But if you take advantage of what’s there … it really can change your life. And I feel it did that for me and continues to do that for me,” he said, while also noting, “If we had better mental health services in prison, and even in the county jails, what an impact that would make. And I honestly believe a lot of people wouldn’t reoffend because they would actually really be addressing what’s really going on up there.
“There are good inmates in prison that genuinely do want to change that are trying,” he continued. “And I’m like, ‘Just help us. Yeah, we screwed up. Yeah, we are being punished, prison is not supposed to be a joyous experience. But for those of us who want to change, let it happen.'”
Isaac, who agreed to speak about his experience if his last name was not used for this story, is a registered sex offender in Utah. He has been convicted of sexual solicitation of a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. Isaac was sent to the Utah State Prison in June of 2018, released in 2022 and terminated from his parole earlier this year. He agreed to share his story in an effort to raise awareness about what he believes is the need for more one-on-one mental health counseling for inmates and continued affordable services once they are released from prison.