Governor calls for special legislative session to address state prison relocation

SALT LAKE CITY – Following the Prison Relocation Commission’s unanimous vote Tuesday to move the Utah State Prison to a spot near the Salt Lake City International Airport, Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued a call for a special session of the Legislature to address the commission’s recommendations for the prison.

“I have called the Legislature into a special session on their August interim day to vote on the recommended site of the Prison Relocation Commission and five other issues,” Gov. Herbert said in a statement Friday.

The pending relocation of the state prison has been a subject of conflict between the state and the residents near potential locations since the commission narrowed its possible location down the five candidate sites. In addition to Salt Lake City, other locations that were considered included Grantsville, Fairfield and Eagle Mountain.

The state prison is currently situated in Draper, and is being eyed for future economic development and possible conversion into a tech center, Fox 13 reported.

Among the reasons why the recommended location is favored by the commission is due to its close vicinity to related-resources and cheap utility rates.

Following the Prison Relocation Commission’s vote, the Utah Department of Corrections issued the following statement:

The Utah Department of Corrections is pleased that, after several years of discussion, this process is continuing to move forward.

While this is a significant step today, the Prison Relocation Commission’s recommendation now goes to the full Legislature and Gov. Gary R. Herbert for a decision. Our role is to support whatever is ultimately decided.

Utah is in desperate need of a new facility that will allow the Department to better manage and rehabilitate offenders in our custody. The type of correctional facility envisioned, coupled with the Justice Reinvestment reforms now in the works, will position Utah as a model for a state-of-the-art criminal justice system.

Not everyone is happy with the commission’s decision, however.

State Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, expressed her frustration with the commission’s announcement:

I am truly disappointed with the news that the Prison Relocation Commission has selected Salt Lake City as the site for the building of the new state prison. The residents and leaders of Salt Lake City have been loud and clear when opposing this possible west side relocation site.

I feel a big mistake is being made to build a state prison in this limited available space area when we should be developing this area for economic development purposes…

…I believe this matter is not finished, and I am hopeful members of the state legislature will consider the importance of a more appropriate relocation site for the state prison than the west side of Salt Lake City. I will be sure to remind them that this vote is a vote on the site and location, not on prison reform or our state’s criminal justice reform.

Others who object to the commission’s recommendation include Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and City Councilman James Rogers.

“We are troubled to learn that the Prison Relocation Commission has chosen Salt Lake City as their recommended location for a new Utah State Prison,” the mayor and councilman said in a joint statement.

“…Salt Lake City will continue to fight today’s decision, and we look forward to working together with Salt Lake City’s legislators to pursue all options to prevent the prison being built,” they said. “This State prison would be a new, additional burden, removing taxable property and potentially adding costs.”

The Legislature will meet next Wednesday to discuss the prison relocation and other matters brought forth by the governor.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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16 Comments

  • 42214 August 15, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Prisons, everybody wants more of them but nobody wants one near them. If you build one in a remote location you add incredible expense to daily operations for transportation and all logistics concerning supplies. Also causes hardship for employees’ housing and commute to and from work. King Solomon couldn’t solve the problem of finding a prison site and making everyone happy. Good luck Gov

  • native born new mexican August 15, 2015 at 10:55 am

    They should leave the prison where it is and they should revise laws and courts such that every thing isn’t a crime especially a felony. Far too many people go to jail or prison in this country. Many things are not the crimes they get made out to be and most people are not heartless criminals. Start young teaching kids right from wrong ( thank you churches and youth programs.) and help drug users to get over their habit; don’t just jail them for it.

    • 42214 August 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      You should start in Arizona where you claim speeding and littering is a felony. People go to prison cause they deserve to.

      • native born new mexican August 15, 2015 at 9:58 pm

        42214 why don’t you check out the following link. http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/13/01603.htm Want to spend the rest of your life as a felon? Litter- dump in Arizona. I don’t approve of the behavior but it should not be a felony. Lets just put most of the country in jail for one stupid thing or another. We can keep right on building jails and ruining people’s lives.

        • 42214 August 16, 2015 at 7:38 am

          Like I said, people in jail deserve to be there because they can’t run their life. As far as felony littering, 300 pounds of litter or deliberately dumping haz mat is no accident and is not relatable to a gum wrapper. I bet you could find an excuse for every poor felon in prison.

        • CaliGirl August 17, 2015 at 7:37 am

          Jails don’t ruin people’s lives, people ruin their own by making choices. Should I drink and drive? Should I use drugs and drive? Think about it people! But sometimes when people don’t think and are charged & jailed for DUI, it’s not the end of the world. They learn and move on. For example, … with the city; charged with DUI a few years back. He managed to learn something and still has a job. That should be good news for St. George News EIC Joyce K.
          Ed. ellipsis.

    • AnnieMated August 16, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      I think they should legalize all drugs.

  • Dexter August 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    LOL.! You watch to much TV. this isn’t the Disney Channel

    • Real Life August 15, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      Disney channel! Genius! Shut up stupid.

      • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 8:50 am

        Disney Channel… Shut up Real Life VILLAGE IDIOT… or stupid…. Same thing

  • Dexter August 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I just made a comment so REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT should be along any moment. LOL.!

  • beentheredonethat August 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Make Purgatory a skyscraper! Taller than the temple.

    • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Hey good idea then MESAMORON and REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT will have a place to stay

  • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I just made another comment so REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT should be along any moment now… Ha ha ha wooooohoooooooo yeahhhhhhh babyyyyyyy. LOL.!

  • fun bag August 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    If you dig around you’ll find that a lot of republicans make a lot of $$$ off the prison system. Remember the private prisons in Idaho that were so corrupt they had to be shut down? This is why they like the unfairly harsh sentences for drug crimes. And legalizing pot would put 1/2 the mexican drug cartels out of business over night. thanks for the stupidity, republicans!

    • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Oh forget it. This is way over there heads…..

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