A citizens advisory council has been appointed by the Central Utah Correctional Facility in a move to develop good community relations.
Prison officials said policy calls for a council with a minimum of seven and a maximum of 11 members, all of whom must reside in Sanpete, Sevier or Juab counties.Initial committee appointees are Dr. Wendell H. McGarry, Kent Larsen, Dr. LaMar Stewart, W. Grant Peel, Beth Ann Willden, Miles Jensen and Richard Kjar.
Prison officials said the committee was organized to establish and maintain community interest and support operations conducted by the Department of Corrections. It will also provide a forum for discussion of community opinions, suggestions and issues with corrections officials, establish a liaison between the facility and the community concerning prison issues, and serve as a means of encouraging citizen awareness and input regarding programs in the field of corrections.
Warden Fred Van Der Veur said he has asked representatives of different bureaus to update the council on happenings in their particular areas of supervision, concluding this will help members to be better informed. The council is encouraged to communicate with the public about the facility.
The warden reported that Phase Two of the Gunnison facility will probably not become a reality until 1995 because of insufficient funding. He outlined legislative funding requests for future buildings and said one housing unit had not yet been opened for occupancy.
Prison officials believe that a good education system within the facility gives inmates a greater likelihood of getting a good job when they are released, diminishing chances of committing further criminal offenses and returning to prison. Some 75 inmates are enrolled in high school programs, 10 in the Com-Net system with Utah State University, and 190 are involved in other programs.
It was reported that a permit problem has delayed use of a coal boiler for heating at the prison but it is expected to be in operation in February. A gas boiler that was designed as a backup boiler is in use.
Additional landscaping is planned at the site but $450,000 requested for landscaping programs has not yet been available. Seed was not planted last fall because of the water shortage. Inmates are not allowed outside the secure perimeter fences, and only one person has been assigned as a groundskeeper.
Van Der Veur told the council that one major project remains to be completed - erecting a property line fence that has been budgeted at $80,000.