“We provide food, clothes, medicines, everything. They now belong to us.” Words uttered at a recent Family Orientation meeting for the Utah Department of Corrections. Interesting! Yes, our loved one is in your care, your custody. But, I disagree with the blanket statement that you now own them! Our loved ones will NEVER be owned by the UDC! You might have them in your facility but contrary to what the officers think and feel, YOU DO NOT OWN THEM! They are our brother, uncle, sister, aunt, daughter, son, mother, father, husband, wife! They belong to us - their families. Each and everyone who is a “guest” of the UDC have someone, somewhere. Now there might be those whose families have given up on them. But, I think that for the majority of the “guests”, this is not the case. Family members provide support beyond the walls. Many of the Offenders are trying to fight their conviction, for whatever reason. Help from with the walls is almost nonexistent. Contract attorneys are available but from my understanding, they do the bare minimum in the way of helping get legal information to the Offender. With no law books available to those inside the walls, this battle is almost always a losing one. Deadlines to file are missed because the necessary information is not received in time. There are delays in the mail room; briefs are not mailed out in a timely manner. All of this makes it almost impossible for the Offender to help him/herself. With family and friends supporting them and doing the necessary “legwork”, briefs do get filed. Challenges are written and submitted. Medical care is followed up on by the family. All of these things are done by those who care….by those who OWN that human being….the FAMILY. So please, do not say that you, the UDC, OWN our loved ones….you do not. Please remember that!