Members of the Judiciary Interim Committee reviewed a report presented by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and Utah Department of Corrections showing a growing number of inmates are in need of the prison's sex offender treatment program.

The total number of sex offenders in prison doubled from August 1996 to August 2008, said Chris Mitchell, director of research for CCJJ, and Michael Robinson, a supervising therapist for corrections' Sex Offender Therapy Program.

Sex offenders make up about 30 percent of the total inmate population in prison, according to the report. But of 1,923 sex offenders who were incarcerated in August, only 235 were in treatment. That's because the prison's resources struggle to keep pace with demand, Robinson said.

Bolstering funding for sex offender programs in prison would allow staff to increase the number of inmates who receive treatment, according to the report.

Receiving sex offender treatment in prison is linked to reducing repeat offenses, the report said, and offenders' participation in treatment is an example to show the Board of Pardons and Parole they have made strides toward rehabilitation and should be released.

The annual report to legislators about Utah sex offenders started during the 1996 legislative session, when lawmakers appropriated $410,000 in new funding for sex offender treatment programs. That was the last time lawmakers allocated specific funds for sex offender treatment.

Mitchell said Thursday's report mirrors data presented to the Legislature in recent years and is a reminder to lawmakers to invest in rehabilitating more offenders.