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New Utah prison sites being considered; see if any are in your area

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Prison relocation site map - Utah Dept. of Corrections

Prison relocation site map - Utah Dept. of Corrections

SALT LAKE CITY -- Five potential sites have been identified for the Utah State Prison to move to, but opponents continue to insist that it stay put in Draper.

At a meeting Friday, the Prison Relocation Commission announced the new sites. They are:

  • An expanded site near I-80 and 7200 West, near the Salt Lake City International Airport;
  • An industrial park near SR 138 and I-80 in Tooele Co.;
  • A new site near the town of Fairfield, in Utah Co.;
  • A site near Eagle Mountain;
  • A site near Grantsville.

"It's important that we find a new site and get a new prison built because we need one," said Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, who chairs the Prison Relocation Commission. "The one we have now is falling apart. It’s standing in the way of all these reforms and opportunities."

On Friday, the commission was also briefed by hired consultants about what a new prison would look like. Instead of razor wire and guard towers, it appears more like a campus. Prison consultants urged the state to consider new technologies and designs to better facilitate rehabilitation and incarceration.

The room for the commission meeting was packed with opponents who held signs protesting plans to move the prison.

"I think they could do every bit as good a job just leaving it where it is," said Jerry Edwards, a Grantsville resident who opposes prison relocation.

Governor Gary Herbert has signaled that he is open to keeping the prison in Draper, despite prior comments that gave support to moving it.

Utah prison relocation meeting Feb 27But commissioners insist that the aging Draper facility needs to be moved. Utah Dept. of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook worried that keeping it at the same site would mean they would still grapple with crumbling buildings.

"It’ll be, 'We’ll build you a couple of buildings, replace those that were built in the '50s and you get to keep those built in the '70s,'" he said.

Prison relocation is tied to efforts for criminal justice reforms (including a recent push to drop the level of charges in drug offenses) and, to a lesser extent, Medicaid expansion. Supporters of the move said that even though most don't want it in their backyard, it must go somewhere.

"It’s fundamental to what our criminal justice system needs right now," said Anna Brower with the ACLU of Utah. "Nobody wants a prison. We get that. It’s a part of our society we love to throw people in there, but we don’t like to deal with them ever afterward. And that attitude has to change."

The prison site is expected to be selected by late spring or early summer. Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, told FOX 13 that a bill was being drafted to give the Prison Relocation Commission authority to select a site. Critics have suggested that it would give lawmakers political cover in case it winds up in their backyard, but Senate Republican leaders point out the legislature would still have to approve funding.

 

17 comments

  • dawemedia

    Actually, the “why” was never adequately discussed. It’s still not apparent how a new facility equals lower recidivism. That’s what they were trying to say. Not to mention, even if we concede that as fact, there is no reason they couldn’t build at the current site with the hundreds of acres that are available there. Do what they did with Granger High School. Build the new facility and then tear down the old one. Pretty simple, and saves the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Travis Maxfield

    The majority of the people of Utah want the prison to stay where it is at. There is enough open space at the current site to build new buildings and demolish the old ones. Sadly it won’t happen because too many legislators stand to make a lot of money on the land (Ivory is one) at the expense of the taxpayers.

  • FKJ

    First… does anyone for a minute believer that Utah lawmakers would ever approve of building a prison that looks like what the consultants recommended? No. They will build a prison that ‘looks like a prison’ because that’s what the prisoners deserve, they would say.

    Second, if we can build new high schools… on the same property as the existing schools and do it without disrupting classes and schedules, we can build a new, modernized Prison on the same 700+ acres it currently resides. Additionally, we didn’t completely shutdown I-15 when it was rebuilt – instead it was demolished and rebuilt in small sections until completed.

    Utah does not need an entirely new prison. I expect only those buildings built in 70’s and earlier need replacing. To argue that everything needs to be ‘new’ – and all at once – is like saying that all the houses in my Salt Lake neighborhood built in the late 70’s, they all need to be torn down and rebuilt… and in a different neighborhood?

    A notion that would make the Utah Association of Realtors absolutely giddy.

  • Gary Dastrup

    I find it interesting that the representatives heading up this prison relocation plan hail from Davis County and yet not one potential site is located in Davis County. Why is that? If it is absolutely necessary for the prison to be relocated (and I’m not convinced that it does), why has no one suggested Antelope Island as a potential site? The facility could be located on the west side of the island and be out of sight for most if not all people residing along the Wasatch Front.

  • Carol

    It needs to stay where it is. I am so sick of taxes continually going up. This “new prison” is going to be expensive and prisoners should not be “comfortable” in there. It is supposed to be a bad place to go not a luxury hotel. They are raising the gas tax, they trying to get the governor and probably the other politicians a raise, and now this. Taxes are going to keep going up and they are not going to listen to what the people of UT are telling them. Government workers/politicians are getting way too many benefits at the cost of the taxpayers and they are getting more and more greedy and self centered. We need some honest people in office, some people with integrity that will actually SERVE the people of this state and this country.

  • richard perschon

    After all the money spent on a prison move and no one wants it in there back yard.there is enough state land at the draper existing site it could be done there why not put it up for a vote to voters or is it like always before the politicians know better, just to benefit the real estate developers at the tax payers expense, this is one reason why people are losing interest in voting because their comments or wishes are not viewed as important unless they organize and make big demonstrations.

  • wick308

    Sounds to me like they are trying to shorten life span or make them baby making free out there.. Do it closer to Dugway and well this thought woulds Ev are a reality

  • Finny Wiggen

    I don’t know a single person within my circle of friends and family who want the prison moved. In every conversation I have had, every single person wants to see the prison stay where it is. I have no doubt that there are a few who want it moved, but they are sparse and few in number.

    The commission needs to realize that they are misguided, and end their reign of wasted funds, and foolish motives.

  • Chas

    Who would want a prison in their backyard. Two possibilities: Leave it where it is and expand using a highrise. But any changes to the current would cost money.
    2. Sell the property, use some of the profits to build a prison way out in the boonies, maybe out near Deseret Chemical. Then take TRAX out their via Tooele, Grantsville, Deseret Chemical, ending at the prison, or continuing in Provo. Employees and visitors would be requested or required to ride the TRAX at a discount.

  • Camp Floyd

    Cedar Valley South is deceptive. It is the south part of Fairfield in Utah County. It is the home of the Camp Floyd State Park. About 157 years ago the state government located 3,500 soldiers of Johnston’s Army in the vacant land south of the stream in Fairfield. They were soon followed by another 3,500 “Camp Followers” that turned the area into the bawdy town of Frogtown. It is a colorful history, that the legislature should study before history repeats itself.

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