State prison volunteers honored

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Conference Center was full of people who spend a lot of time in prison, but those in attendance weren’t criminals.

Saturday’s gathering honored and brought together a community of volunteers who help at the state’s two correctional facilities in Draper and Gunnison.

Many of the volunteers provide religious services for the 20 faiths represented in the prison system. Some help prison inmates learn to read while others lead choirs or teach crafts.

Craig Burr, corrections programming division director, said people who volunteer at prisons are usually surprised by how much they enjoy it.

“All of them are a little leery about coming in and going through those doors, and those doors are locked behind them but once they come in, they love it and they don’t want to leave,” he said.

About 1,200 volunteers work at the prison facility near the point of the mountain, and about 300 work at the Gunnison facility.