Drew Clark: We need to consider inmates' needs in prison relocation discussion

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  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 27, 2015 9:56 a.m.

    You who oppose the prison move are all wasting your breath. The property tycoons who own the state legislature have spoken. They want that land and they will have it and the voting citizenry can go pound sand.

  • astewboy2 Tooele, UT
    July 27, 2015 7:42 a.m.

    I will say, my problems with moving the prison have to do with the inmates. The opposition, primarily the Keep It In Draper group, does not take the position that the prison doesn't need to be upgraded and updated, but that it can be done at the current site where the state owns 600 acres and will cost less in the long run. Also, while a new building would help, the article talks about the human capital that is needed to make a difference. All of that takes a hit if you move the site (volunteers, prison guards, mental health resources, drug rehabilitation, etc.), especially if its outside of Salt Lake County. And the people make the big difference, not a new building. It's harder to recruit qualified people to these other areas, not to mention that they don't have the same population access to create the necessary volunteer population (because Utah is too cheap of a state in general for social services, volunteers make up the difference in many areas). RENOVATE, DON'T RELOCATE!!!!!

  • migraine Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2015 11:21 p.m.

    Drive past the Draper facility or check Google maps - there are huge undeveloped fields in virtually every direction around the current prison, with more than enough space to build a new facility even if it were doubled or tripled in size. The real reason for moving the prison is only to benefit Draper city developers, at the expense of all of the rest of us.

    If rehabilitation of prisoners is truly our goal, how does it make sense to move the prison away from where all of its current employees, therapists, and personnel already live? How many drug therapists or mental health counselors live in Eagle Mountain, or are willing to drive clear out there? Draper is right near I-15 and other transportation hubs, helping employees, therapists, and families to actually be able to work and visit the facility. Not to mention the already-established religious support community, LDS and other chaplains, that would have to be re-invented from scratch if moving to a new location. What medical facilities exist near Eagle Mountain that could handle all of the inmates' injuries and health conditions?

    Draper has plenty of land and personnel nearby to support any new facility.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2015 10:16 p.m.

    As most will be released and the taxpayers are responsible for paying for their incarceration, health care that needs to be easily accessible, and their rehabilitation and monitoring back in the community they need to be close to resources. Another reason to leave it in Draper.

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2015 8:22 p.m.

    Wonderful thoughts from Mike Richards. Wish he would write a guest editorial and that you would print it. Neat that he visited and befriended a prisoner. If we are to rehabilitate the prisoners, we will need to show them love -- like Mike has. If they are to be reformed, they will need to have friends both while they are in there and when they get out. If we don't provide good friends (like Mike), they will have only their fellow inmates as role models. It is said that you are no better than the company you keep, so do we really want our prison to remain stuck in this gear? It is time we changed our prisons to provide good influences for the prisoners, good people for them to rub shoulders with. If we are ever to do this, being located near the population base will be important. Bless Mike Richards for his comment and for what he has done to help one prisoner. Bless him for showing love. Inserting love into the reform model is one of the best things we could do.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 26, 2015 5:00 p.m.

    What is YOUR goal to help inmates? Most of us know or know off someone who has been in prison. I often visited someone in a half-way house as he went through a period of counselling. Each time those steel doors clanged shut behind me, I wanted to just turn around and get out of there; but, the man that I visited needed a friend. He needed to know that someone cared. He needed to know that when he got out, that at least one person would invite him to visit and to eat dinner. His self-esteem was non-existent. I probably did very little to help, but spending an hour with him every week helped both of us. I learned that prisoners are people and that they need our help. He learned that doing something wrong has great consequences.

    Prisoners are people. Locking them up and throwing away the key is not an option. The prison needs to be easily accessible. Business can go elsewhere. Prisoners are more important than a fistful of dollars.

    July 26, 2015 3:36 p.m.

    Yes! So much. If the prison can be rebuilt in a solid manner in Draper it should be.

    If not SLC is the only option that is socially responsible simply because removing it to far away locations will diminish the amount of help these people can receive from law firms, non-profits, civil activists, social workers, families, church groups. It will be a real struggle to drive all the way out to Eagle Mountain or wherever for many organizations that are based in SLC and already have a limited budget.

  • tiger123 Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 26, 2015 2:58 p.m.

    If rehabilitation is the goal, why does the state legislature keep cutting the funding for programs at the prison? It's the programs, not the building that make the difference. Move the prison further away from Draper and you will lose many of the volunteers and staff, and even frequency of visitors due to commuting distance. Rather than build a shiny new prison in one fell swoop, why not build in phases, on the extra land in Draper and use the remainder of the money that would need to be spent on additional infrastructure costs (for the potential sites in SLC, Eagle Mountain, Grantsville, or Fairfield) funding programs that are desperately needed instead? Of course, if they did that, the developers and their "friends" wouldn't be making any money off the deal...

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2015 2:48 p.m.

    The article is right. It should be about which location serves best for rehabilitating the prisoners. The legislators are charged with providing the best governance, not with turning a real estate dollar. If Draper is better than any of the four sites under consideration, legislators should feel obligated to leave the prison where it is.
    Of the four sites, only the one near the airport is nearly as favorable. That site, however, comes with a large price in terms of sacrificing what it could be used for instead of prison property. Convenience has always been a key in successful sales, so make tourism convenient as possible to the tourist. The land near the airport should be developed as a welcoming zone for those arriving in Utah. Place entertainment and tourist venues right next to the airport. You only have one international airport in all of Utah, so you only have one opportunity to do this. The prison is being moved on the premise that the Draper land has a higher use. But, in truth, high-tech development can go elsewhere. It is not Draper, but rather the land near the airport that has a value like none other.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    July 26, 2015 12:07 p.m.

    This is not just an issue for those who live near the proposed locations. This is more about getting the best prison for the Money. Parts do need to be rebuilt. That is a given. An all new modern facility built as a single project is even fairly reasonable. But no site other than Draper can be built on nearly as efficiently. The Costs for any of the other locations will be well over a Billion tax payers dollars. Money that may be eventually recovered if the land sells reasonable quick and is developed in a timely manner. Something that is not guaranteed as there are thousands of acres of available land already open for sale or lease in Draper let alone what is found on the south side of the Point.

    This is not about NIMBY it is about money. We don't need to spend a Billion extra dollars when we already own the land, all the utilities are already in place. The staff and volunteer pool (critical for rehabilitation) are already in place and established.

    Fred Cox an Architect has made it clear that there is room to rebuild in Draper. Keep it in Draper

  • no fit in SG St.George, UT
    July 26, 2015 10:35 a.m.

    Think this through.
    When America can treat their military Veterans with good health care and decency, then the nation can discuss making better digs for criminals living in prisons.
    Minimal and clean should be the prison standard.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2015 9:37 a.m.

    Not all of the existinng buildings look like the ones the prison picks to show off for visitors or the legislature. Can we tour that building? No, it is too new. It is only 15 or 20 years old. Yes, the infirmary, Wasatch cells, Oquirrh 5 Annex, Uinta 5 reception and oriantation should have been replaced already. If we decide we do want a new prison, besides those, build it in Draper. There are hundreds of acres just waiting there. It can be easily phased. Keep it in Draper.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2015 9:28 a.m.

    If the writer will actually talk to those that work at the prison, live at the prison, visit with inmates, taxpayers, and the volunteers, the majority would say keep it in Draper. The cost of getting any of the 4 sites as ready as Draper is for a new prison is approx $100 Million. That doesn't take into account the $ Millions of additional transportation costs for all of those if it moves.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 26, 2015 9:07 a.m.

    If the goal is actually rehabilitating people, then the prison should be geographically close to population centers, so families can visit more easily.

    But is the goal really rehabilitation?

    The prison industrial complex makes BIG money . . . But only if it has a steady inflow of inmates. That means high recidivism is in the best interests of all who profit from the PIC.

    Just think of all the people in Utah employed in its criminal justice system, and the billions of dollars siphoned off over the years from useful projects to fund lawyers, Assistant Attorneys Generals, prosecutors, police officers, the court system, and prison personnel.

    Haven't you wondered why the emphasis was taken away from rehabilitation? That's why.

    Now it's all about incarceration and punishment. Incarceration provides knowledge of criminal techniques. Punishment begets revenge. And that equates to more crimes, and more people going back to prison, and more MONEY for stakeholders.

    Are you sure you really want to promote rehabilitation?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    July 26, 2015 8:46 a.m.

    MGT of America, the consultants who are issuing the constant stream of reports advocating prison relocation, appear to have a vested interest in the relocation. Their own literature contains the following statement:

    "With a national reputation and impressive track record of business from repeat clients"

    Maybe we need consultants who have no future stake in the outcome of their reports.