Sara Wolovick

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Utah
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Prisoners' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Sara advocated for humane conditions and accountability in Utah’s jails and prisons to protect incarcerated individuals from constitutional violations and medical neglect.

In 2014, Utah had the highest per capita jail death rate in the country. Individuals held in Utah jails and prisons have died or been seriously harmed while desperately seeking medical care. Others have been abused, kept in solitary confinement for weeks or months, or denied access to legal materials, grievance processes, or the courts. Individuals in rural jails are isolated from legal and healthcare services, and mentally ill and disabled prisoners are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect. These issues have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted incarcerated people who are housed in congregate settings where social distancing is often impossible. Thousands of people were infected with COVID-19 in Utah’s prisons and jails, demonstrating the dangers posed by mass incarceration, and the need for release plans and robust enforced safety protocols to protect the health and safety of incarcerated people, corrections staff, and the broader community.

Sara has been dedicated to serving in Utah since she moved to Salt Lake City to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Her law school internship with the ACLU of Utah exposed her to the injustices and abuses within Utah’s jail system, and she proudly continued working on conditions of confinement and dedicated herself to advocating for Utahns’ civil rights during her Fellowship.

Fellowship Highlights

Sara successfully advocated for better medical care for multiple incarcerated individuals. She also successfully advocated for the implementation of certain COVID-19 safety measures in carceral settings. She provided a platform for incarcerated people and their loved ones to speak to the public about conditions of confinement while she conducted a public education campaign on conditions of confinement and prisoners’ rights. Finally, she assisted in carrying out litigation on conditions of confinement.

Next Steps

Sara plans to continue advocating for individuals in the criminal legal system in her next position.

Media

ACLU Utah: COVID 19 in Jails and Prisons, Parole and Probation Reform, Stories from the Inside

Utah inmates died after parole board declined to increase ‘compassionate releases’

FOX 13 Investigates: How outbreaks killed 18 Utah prison inmates while families were kept in dark

Pandemic Lawyering: A Year in Review

Davis County jail inmate dies by suicide

15th Utah inmate dies after testing positive for COVID-19

Family members protest after 278 prisoners test positive for coronavirus at Utah prison

Bills to widen public access to jail documents advance in Utah Legislature

Five inmates at the Weber County jail have coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreak worsens at the Weber County jail

Utah inmates are dying from coronavirus, as advocates call for an investigation

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