The Senate Site Prison Relocation Basics

Prison Relocation Basics

Posted in 2015, Featured on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 11:00 AM 7 Comments

The Prison Relocation Commission met on Friday afternoon.
For those of you who are just tuning in, the Prison Relocation Commission has the following responsibilities:

(1) to carefully and deliberately consider, study, and evaluate how and where to move the state prison;
(2) to invite the participation of interested parties and the public;
(3) to adopt recommendations regarding a new prison site(s), the types of facilities to be built, and how existing state or county facilities can meet future corrections needs; and
(4) to report its recommendations to the governor and the Legislature.

As of right now, there are five approved sites to be officially considered. Through the past year, 45 sites were considered – now these final sites will continue to be evaluated in terms of things like ground issues, wetlands and utilities access. Ultimately, the decision will come down to cost effectiveness, with the overall goal being to keep the facility away from the population and make it conducive to the topography of the land. The final decision is expected to be made by early summer.

All of the information that the legislature maintains in regards to the commission is archived online at the 2014 Prison Relocation Commission and 2015 Prison Relocation Commission pages. Switch between the tabs for membership/contact information, meeting materials, studies and recommendations, related links, and to subscribe to information.

Related materials for the most recent meeting include a Modern Correctional Facility Design presentation, a recommended Report of the Prison Relocation Commission: Improving our Criminal Justice System by Building a Leading-Edge Correctional Facility, a Correctional Facility Siting-Status report, and more.

What are your thoughts on the prison moving, and this process? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or contact your senator.


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7 Comments to “Prison Relocation Basics”

  1. Debra Spilman says:

    To begin with, I don’t think the prison should be moved at all. The prison was there long before Draper was incorporated as a city, Draper intentionally included the prison land within it’s city limits, Draper grew around the prison, and obviously has the resources to support the prison. Tooele County does NOT have the necessary resources – limited water, limited medical facilities, limited population to recruit volunteers from, limited educational and social support programs. If you move the prison to Tooele Valley, I certainly hope the prison has it’s own ambulance and emergency medical personnel on hand. The ambulance companies in Tooele Valley will NOT transport an emergency patient to University Hospital – I’m told the law prohibits them from transporting anywhere except the hospital in Tooele.

    In one article I read: “Patterson continues to voice caution about moving away from population centers, which could cause a hardship to those trying to visit inmates.” If this it truly a concern and not just more blah, blah rhetoric then moving the prison to Tooele Valley does NOT make sense. Tooele County doesn’t have the temporary lodging capacity to accommodate all inmate families especially when there are big events occurring at the Miller Motorsports Park. And even if the families can find lodging or simply want to commute into the Valley, we don’t have enough rental cars in the Valley nor the necessary public transportation for the family members to even commute to/from the prison from outside the Tooele Valley nor from within Tooele Valley. I don’t even think we have taxi service in Tooele Valley. To move the prison to a location where the very people you claim to care about will have problems commuting to will be a sign that the PRC’s claims that they actually care about the inmates and their families is just talk and will indicate PRC’s lack of concern for the welfare of the inmates and their families.

    Next issue – access into and out of Tooele Valley is essentially limited to I-80 and when I-80 gets shut down (which it has on multiple occasions some of which for several hours) then those on the interstate are stuck on the interstate and all others must either try to go over the Middle/Butterfield Canyons road (closed in winter plus narrow and winding) or south through Lehi. You can also head west to go up and around the Great Salt Lake but that adds several hours to your commute through a lot of really desolate terrain (have made that trek before). When I-80 gets shut down during shift change at the prison, how do you plan on getting the incoming guards and support personnel out of the stopped/stranded traffic on the interstate and those not stuck on the interstate into the valley and to the prison so the personnel going off shift can depart the prison?

    There is NO real public transportation into, out of, and around Tooele Valley. While I haven’t seen an official date, I have been told Frontrunner isn’t scheduled to come into Tooele Valley until 2040 and we have NO Trax. How are the prison personnel and visitors that now rely on public transportation expected to get to and from a prison located out in Tooele Valley? Is the prison going to set up and operate a shuttle service? Tooele Valley roads have trouble handling the current traffic load, what do our legislators plan to do to the improve the road and vehicle traffic issues within the valley if the prison is built out into Tooele Valley?

    What about the guards, support personnel, and volunteers that have already stated they will not commute to Tooele Valley? Are you sure you will be able to replace all those that refuse to commute all the way out to Tooele Valley? I don’t think Tooele Valley has the human resources available to staff the prison human resource needs.

    Personally, if the prison truly MUST be moved out of Draper, then I feel the location at 7200 W and I-80 seems to be the best location. If I-80 gets shut down between 7200 W and Salt Lake City, traffic can easily detour down 7200 to get to the courthouse or University Hospital. I’m not sure if the frontage road runs between 7200 W and 5600 W, but if not, it shouldn’t be difficult to build a frontage road from 7200 to 5600 W to improve access routes to and from the prison. This would be much cheaper than trying to build a new road between Tooele Valley and Salt Lake Valley. It shouldn’t be difficult to add bus routes to and from 7200 West. The expense of extending TRAX out to 7200 would be a lot cheaper than running TRAX and Frontrunner out to Tooele Valley decades before it is planned to go out that way. It would be much easier for family members, employees, and volunteers to commute to the 7200 W location vs any of the Tooele Valley proposed sites.

    If in fact, moving the prison will bring millions/billions of extra dollars in revenue to the state (and not just the land developers in Draper) then the legislature should pass a law requiring a set percentage (at least 50%) of that “new” revenue be given to whatever municipality ends up supporting the prison. And if the prison is placed on state owned and managed land, then that 50% of new revenue should be devoted to helping the inmates’ rehabilitation.

    As far as the process is concerned, I’m not sure the PRC has been following any real process. One of the criteria on the Prison Relocation Commission’s original list of criteria is community acceptance. Based on all the comments I’ve seen from members of the community, how did the PRC consultant decide that the Tooele Valley community truly accepts the prison? I’m part of the Tooele Valley community and I was never asked and I haven’t heard anyone tell me that they were ever consulted either. I’d like to know just who was asked their opinion about locating the state prison in Tooele County? The Miller site received a score of 10 out of 15 points for Community Acceptance? If it was awarded 2/3’s of the total points, I have to assume they felt that 2/3’s of the county is in favor of the prison being located at the Miller site. I’m not seeing evidence of even half, let alone 2/3’s of Tooele County residents supporting the prison, thus I have to assume that Community Acceptance is not based on what Tooele County wants but rather what some non-Tooele County group wants. If this data is questionable, I have to question the “results” of the consultant’s other findings.

    I realize the PRC members are tired of getting jumped on by everyone, but during one of the meetings that I watched part of on line, I felt one of the PRC member’s comments an attempt to intimidate the public. Basically it sounded to me like the public should be happy the PRC is even talking to them and that if we didn’t shut up that they would just simply make a decision without caring what anyone else felt or thought. I’m hoping that wasn’t the intent but have heard others express the same interpretation of what and how it was said.

  2. jan wishart says:

    we walk our pets down Old LIncoln Hwy…our kids ride their bike along the proposed site..this is a nice QUIET area and we DONT want it ruined by a prison!.We moved out here for a reason and your not going to take that away from us!

  3. Melinda Firth says:

    Tooele county is NOT the answer…IF the prison can NOT be rebuilt at its current location then it needs to stay in the Salt Lake Valley closer to the facilities and volunteers required to run the site…small towns and communities need to stay small….

  4. Audrey says:

    I think it would be much more cost effective to leave it where it is and pay for necessary upgrades. I live in the Tooele valley and it would hurt us in more ways than one. It would be horrible for us who already struggle with keeping home values up. There is also only so much water and with tons of new homes going in, a new prison could make it worse. We’re already on strict watering schedules as is. Just please leave any location in our valley off the list. Don’t make it any harder on us residents.

  5. My concern is PRC getting power to decide where it goes! Thankful Herbert declared hell veto their bill!!!

  6. jan wishart says:

    sr 138 Industrial Park is not the place for the prison also. The water issue is a big concern as the farmers wont even have enough.Our wells would be sucked dry. (our only source of water in most homes around here) There is a big suddivision right across the street. Leave it in Draper..or put it at Lakeside! We bought our home for the peace and views and naturalness. We would like to keep it that way. It would not benifit Grantsville in any way and we dont have the resources to support it. Please keep it OUT of Tooele county!!!!!

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