Letter: Prison relocation

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  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    July 3, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    The largest prison complex in Arizona, and the home of their Death Row, is located in the small town of Florence. It is about 40 miles to the closest large city, Mesa. and the closest hospital top the prison is a small community hospital.The vast majority of the large prison complexes are in smaller rural towns with small hospitals like Douglas, Safford, Winslow, Buckeye, Kingman, and the aforementioned Florence. Some inmates have been exported to Prisons in Oklahoma and Indiana, and other states export prisoners as well.

    The vast majority of prisoners in Arizona are not in the metro areas of Tucson or Phoenix. And prisoners get relocated from one side of the state to the other pretty regularly, especially if they get into trouble.

    So if a larger state like Arizona can have its prisons in rural areas, and even export prisoners out of state, why can't Utah build a prison in Delta or Price. These Arizona facilities seem to be able to get staffed and volunteers. And the small towns benefit from the jobs and improved infrastructure. Why do prisoners need to be in the most comfortable location for them and their families?

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:52 p.m.


    Tents? Get serious. Ever try to build a maximum security tent? Ever try to heat one in the winter for permanent occupancy? How are you going to put in toilets? Yes, we had tents in the Army. We also had automatic weapons and a lot of other things that have nothing to do with prison. Tents were temporary structures used for short-term occupancy or until permanent structures were erected.

    For those who want to locate it in a rural setting: Do you plan to train all new guards and staff from those communities? How many towns have enough qualified unemployed people to fill the jobs? Or will the State pay the cost of relocating all the existing ones who want to move? Upgrading the infrastructure of small towns to accommodate sudden growth will run in the millions, raising taxes for the citizens there and overloading facilities in the meantime.
    How will families get there to visit? We know that strong family ties have a lot to do with lower recidivism. How about all the volunteers who now work with prisoners? How will you replace them?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:06 p.m.

    @2bits. The relocation is going to take place to benefit developers and businesses. Even the governor said the land is in the middle of the tech corridor the state is pushing. As far as rebuilding on site it is easy and doable and the inmates would not have to be moved. I have been involved in jail and prison expansions and none of the inmates had to be moved. It is really not that complicated to build one building and knock one down. Universities do it all the time.

    In the end do you think moving the prison will really contribute 20 billion to the economy like our legislators claim.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2014 2:13 p.m.

    People seem so concerned about proximity to a hospital.

    We can build a hospital. Intermountain builds a new hospital every few years. Maybe the next one should be in Tooele or Magna?

    Then the prison would be VERY close to a hospital. AND the people on that side of the Oquirrh Mountains would have a better hospital closer (win-win).


    Most inmates go to the University Hospital for treatment. That's what 25-30 mile drive from point of the mountain... And how far is the U from Tooele... ~30 miles. Hmmm....


    I agree legislators should not benefit from this. I agree. But unless you can PROVE a conflict of interest (not just you heard someone say they wonder)... also not a show stopper.


    Moving would benefit every Utahn in at least one way... increased tax revenue from the homes and businesses that will eventually occupy this land in the coming years.

    More families paying State income taxes... is a good thing. More families paying property taxes... is a good thing. More businesses paying sales tax, business tax, providing jobs, and giving people pay-checks... is a GOOD thing.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    July 2, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    Moving the prison to a rural community does nothing for the prisoners family's and volunteers who actually REHABILITATE the prisoners.
    If all the prison is, is a source of jobs for poor rural folks, then we need to rethink the everything, because that is wrong.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    To all the "so-and-so's a real estate agent, I WONDER how much he stands to make on (fill in the blank with anything before the legislature)"...

    What... Now all we have to say is, "I WONDER"... and he's guilty???

    Tell us what conflicts actually exist (not just you wonder if they exist) and you will have credibility.

    But just WONDERING about something... doesn't make it true...

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    Doug Fullmer is a real estate agent. I wonder how much he stands to make on the prison relocating?

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    Two things only: 1. A retired engineer who worked extensively with the Dept. of Corrections wrote an op-ed that only a single building in the current configuration was in need of demolition and replacement. He calculated the cost of that move would be massively less than relocation of the entire facility. 2. The federal government is in the process of changing the rules for drug offense incarceration that should (if followed by the States) should reduce the number of inmates currently imprisoned and those convicted of drug offenses in the future. The growth in the prison population could be ending.

    PS. The legislature used to be predominantly lawyers. Today the top occupation is realtor. Just sayin'.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    Some of the military is housed in tents.

    The prison population should be housed in tents.

    Pitching tents would be easy for a rural community to get behind.

    The cost of pitching/maintaining tents would be far less than constructing/maintaining a penal palace.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:59 a.m.


    If you can give us names of the Legislators on the prison move committee who are owned by Developers (and include the compelling evidence you base your accusations on)... then please post it. If not... you are just blowing steam, and hoping it sticks (and it will for some).

    You really SHOULD have some "evidence" of wrong doing... if you are going to accuse.


    I don't know if we need to MOVE... but it for sure needs to be re-built.

    Do we rebuild it in the middle of the fastest growing residential and business area in our State? Or do we take this opportunity to move to a new (less urban) location? Same as we did when we closed Sugar House back in 1951?


    After building the Prison in Sugar House... our population grew and we outgrew the facility. The current prison has the same problem.

    The old Sugar House prison only housed 400 inmates. We replaced it with the current facility that houses 4000 inmates. We also moved it to a more remote location (in 1951).

    Those who INSIST on making everything political... will never realize that.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:39 a.m.


    The decision that we NEED to move it has been made. The decision about whether we will actually move it or not has not yet been made.

    The analysis of the current prison facility was done by an independent consulting group that specializes in Corrections Facilities. And their recommendation was to move it. And if you don't move it... reconstruct on the current site (which would cost more than constructing elsewhere).

    The analysis of the current facility is based on facts, figures, costs, benefits and logic (not a political decision). The decision of whether to take their recommendation and move... IS a political decision.

    We may still decide to reject the recommendation and stay. That's what still needs to be decided. But even if they keep it in Draper/Bluffdale... It has security problems, structural problems, and it's too small. It needs to be leveled, updated, and expanded. which is expensive. And where do you put the inmates while you do that?

    We can't just let them out!

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    @John Charity Spring

    "The prison relocation effort is just part of the left-wing attack on law enforcement and the corrections system."


    Do you really believe that tripe you typed? You really think the "left-wing" does not think we need a prison? Really?

    Please give us ANY actual source of this information. It would be enlightening to read that somewhere.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    The people pushing a relocation of the prison are those who will benefit most. Developers. They already own the legislature. We don't need to spend a billion dollars re-locating the prison. Build a new one in place. This stupidity needs to be stopped right in its tracks.

    Any member of the state legislature that votes to move the prison needs to be voted out of office.

    If they do move the prison, the whole area needs to be developed into a very large multi-use park featuring the hot springs and hot pools that are there on site. Make the land into a place where families can go to fish, camp, play, walk, bike and tie it into the Jordan River Parkway.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    Let us recognize facts, rather than hiding from them. The prison relocation effort is just part of the left-wing attack on law enforcement and the corrections system.

    The left-wing preaches a dogma of anti-responsibility. Under this philosophy, criminals are not responsible for their actions, society is. Therefore, these blameless criminals should not be in prison, according to the left.

    Let us see this for what it is: an attack on traditional notions of law enforcement.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    If I get Doug's meaning correctly, the English translation of his letter is: "Not in my back yard!"

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 2, 2014 2:16 a.m.


    So it's already been decided whether or not to move it?

    Gee, that was fast. Very little debate there!

    It's amazing how fast our legislature moves on developing land at taxpayer expense while it's equally amazing how slow they move on anti discrimination bills, prosecuting former AGs, and funding education.