Utah has the most jail deaths per capita in the nation,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Weber and Davis counties are among the worst in the state, outstripping even more populous Salt Lake County in death rates, data gathered by the Standard-Examiner shows. The following story archive is the first part of a yearlong effort by the Standard-Examiner to report on the people behind the mugshots and how they died.

Stories on jail policies

Stories by jail

Select a button below to filter our coverage by jail.

Box Elder man's suicide by poison, death in jail leaves unresolved questions
Sunday, March 26, 2017

BRIGHAM CITY — A man who died while awaiting booking in the Box Elder County Jail had ingested more than 10 times the amount of strychnine necessary to kill a person, investigative reports show.

Box Elder jail inmate's death raises concerns for justice system, not foul play
Tuesday, February 23 2016

BRIGHAM CITY — The death in jail of a Bear River City man who ignored court orders to pay an ambulance bill is drawing more attention from civil rights groups, which say they see American justice returning to a type of debtors’ prison environment.

Case remains open in January 2016 Box Elder County jail death
Thursday, June 02, 2016

BRIGHAM CITY — The death of a Bear River City man remains under investigation four months after he was found unresponsive in a Box Elder County jail cell.

Man who died in Box Elder jail was there for not paying a debt
Monday, February 15, 2016

BRIGHAM CITY — Rex Iverson died in a jail cell shortly after he was taken into custody, but he wasn’t there for a criminal act..

Do you have a story to share about jail deaths in Utah? Contact us.
Newsroom main: (801) 625-4225 • cityed@standard.net
Or contact our reporter
Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net Report a jail death:

State law does not require jails to report an in-custody death to the public. Sometimes jails choose to send out press releases, but that's not typically the case. If you know someone who has died in a Utah jail, contact the Standard-Examiner at cityed@standard.net with a name of the deceased and the name of the jail where they were in custody.

Requesting an autopsy:
An autopsy report is an official record of a medical examiner's findings during a post-mortem examination. That typically includes information on cause of death and details about the condition of the body as it relates to the factors around death.

In Utah, an autopsy report can only be released to immediate family members and legal representatives. The report is not automatically released to family — it needs to be requested and approved by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

An Immediate family member is defined as a "surviving spouse, child, natural or adoptive parent, any full or half sibling, and any child aged 18 or older," according to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner website. There is no time limit to when a record can be requested.