Jay Evensen: When it comes to moving Utah's prison, learn from the past

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  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    2 bits brings up the topic of increased tax revenue from the land if it is commercialized. It is a good point. The increased tax revenue would help pay for a new prison. I do not think it should go overlooked, however, that the reason for tax money in the first place is so we can provide things like roads and schools and prisons and if you have to sacrifice the quality of the prison in order get the additional tax money, you are being counter productive. I believe the best site for the prison is where it is at. If you give that up, you have compromised the quality of service.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    Prison systems are among the most important functions modern governments provide — right there somewhere between schools and soccer stadiums.

    This the USA, we don't have any soccer stadiums.

    This subject pops up all the time in Utah. Why does it come up more than what people want the government to do?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    What should we learn from the past Jay? That inmates may break windows when they move? That they may not like the move?

    I think what we should LEARN from history is... wherever you move it... is eventually going to be crowded out by the growing population and become obsolete. So get used to that idea right now (so we don't have all the hand ringing when it happens again in 60 years). Or move it to such remote real-estate that it takes longer to get crowded out!


    Sugar house turned out to be a bad place for a prison (although when Brigham Young came here... it probably seemed like a perfectly remote place to people living in downtown SLC).

    Likewise the point of the mountain probably seemed like a perfect place in the 1950s. Who knew I-15 would come along and all the population growth in that part of the valley (it was beyond the edge of the earth as far as 1950's SLC residents were concerned).

    THAT is what we should learn.

    Wherever we put it (no matter how remote)... will eventually become prime realestate and crowd it out.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    RE: "There is plenty of room to replace existing buildings on site so it is not necessary to move the prison to have updated facilities".

    What makes you an expert on this? How do YOU know there is plenty of room (just from looking at it as you fly by on I-15)?

    The people recommending the move know a thing or two about the amount of space they need. This didn't originate from the legislature. It originated from the Corrections Department, which knows how much space they need.

    Just because there is some space left doesn't mean we can put new buildings on it and still have a good secure prison. Some of that space is needed for inmates to go outside. Some of that space is needed as a buffer so the guards can insure security of the inmates. Some of that space is needed as a buffer between the prison and their neighbors.

    They know what they are doing. Are YOU an expert in corrections facilities?


    This isn't about "updated facilities". Corrections isn't asking for new drapes, nicer rooms. They are asking to be able to accommodate the increased inmate population.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    I think the reason we're not discussing making it into a regional park... is "cost".

    Cost to the Utah Tax Payers (that's you and me).

    IF we make it a regional park, there is no revenue to the State (from selling the land to the highest bidder) to offset the cost of buying the new land.

    So the cost of buying the new land must be funded 100% by you and me (instead of the developer who buys the land from the State).

    Does that make sense?


    If we DON'T sell the land, and just move... Taxpayers must pay the full price (and taxes may need to go up... or money that COULD go to education, reallocated to pay for the new land).

    Do you want that?


    It's like when YOU move.... don't you sell your old house... so you can afford to buy the new house?

    Or do you just move, and donate the old house to be turned into a park. Then have to come up with 100% of the cost of the new house instead of using the equity you had in the old house to buy the new house?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    high school fan
    Huntington, UT
    The current facility is over sixty years old and as we all know, being sixty is not the same as being twenty or even forty. If you are going to rebuild the facility anyway, then move it. New construction is always cheaper then mass remodeling and new is new.

    3:52 a.m. Feb. 12, 2014

    [Pretending for a minute you get your way,
    and knowing how much you hate paying taxes,
    How do you propose paying for it?]


    this is one for the record book.

    Jay and I finally agree on something.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    "But do lawmakers get it? Do they understand that the idea developers are driving this discussion, whether true or not, is a huge perception problem?"

    Are these rhetorical questions? Take a look at the legislators pushing the hardest and then follow the money...

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    You suggest that, "Prison systems are among the most important functions modern governments provide." You say, "A society that values the notion of redemption and second chances ought to believe people can change." Wonderful thoughts. Would be great if we reformed our prisons to place more emphasis on rehabilitation.

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    Jay! Mr. Evenson! Wonderful perspective on prisons. I wrote letters to the editor on this (unpublished) and have very similar feelings and hopes. Moving the prison should be decided on what is best for the prison -- just that, and nothing else. Don't forgo a good prison site just because someone stands to make a buck if the land is sold and commercialized. If the idea is to have the best prison you can, let the decision be based on that. Point of the Mountain is close to the courts, close to medical resources, and close to attorneys who visit. From that vantage point, it is at the prime location, already. But, more importantly, volunteers could be vital if we ever get serious about prison reform. Many are going to be lost if we move to Delta or Tooele. If we want rehabilitation, then it is wise to provide role models. In addition to being role models, volunteers offer love, encouragement and direction -- all of which are vital to rehabilitation.
    If the point is to have the best prison, keep the prison at the Point.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    There is plenty of room to replace existing buildings on site so it is not necessary to move the prison to have updated facilities.

    The location is practical for volunteers, attorneys, families and is close to medical facilities and courts. There is no good reason to move the prison.

    The only need is greed.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    I agree. Trails could connect the park with Thanksgiving point, and from there, the murdock canal trail and Jordan river parkway.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    I've learned from the past too.

    whether it be student vouchers, UDOT bidders, or John Swallow, our repub state legislature can't stop giving away our money to their friends! I say not only no to the prison move but heck no!

    Let's propose a park in the place of that prison and suddenly all the interest from our real estate controlled legislature would dwindle and perish.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Feb. 12, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    re: high school fan,

    The prison was opened sixty years ago, but most of the buildings are not that old. There has been remodeling and new construction all along the way.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    Could drug offenders be "fixed" to reject certain drugs and receive pain instead of pleasure?

    Could sex offenders be deprived of sexuality temporarily or permanently?

    Could robbers and burglars be fitted with tracking devices to record their every location?

    Could texting in moving vehicles by prevented by the telephone companies.

    Could criminal businessmen be barred from owning or operating a business.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    Doing the same thing over again will not give different results. Rebuilding the prison won't change the fact that the current methods of treating wrongdoings doesn't work.

    Some random thoughts:

    When a child misbehaves, the parent often gives appropriate punishment, but after the punishment, the child is accepted back into the family in full standing with just as much love as before. The child probably will not have any lingering hate for the parent and probably will do better.

    In the natural world, if you violate the rules, the punishment is usually instantaneous and directly proportional to the offense. Like when you put your finger on a hot stove, you get the pain right away. While the pain may linger for a while, the lesson learned is the absolute knowledge that repeating the offense will consistently produce the pain of punishment.

    Punishment should be limited to the person who does the offense. If a person is sent to prison, the spouse, children and other loved ones are punished as well.

    Could we look at different ways to punish that would be more effective?

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    Excellent points all around Jay. Thanks!

    I hope the Governor and legislators read and carefully consider your comments.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Evenson hit it right on the head. This "discussion is being driven by developers and the City of Draper seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the Utah tax payer. The prison shouldn't be moved, and if it is, then I agree a very large regional park would be an appropriate use of the land. My Dad used to go swimming in the small ponds on site when he was a teenager. A little public access open land in the south end of the valley would be cool.

    Propose that officially and all the hurry to move the prison would die.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 3:52 a.m.

    The current facility is over sixty years old and as we all know, being sixty is not the same as being twenty or even forty. If you are going to rebuild the facility anyway, then move it. New construction is always cheaper then mass remodeling and new is new.