Five years ago, Utah lawmakers started breaking ground on a new prison facility for inmates currently housed in Draper. The prison facility was built in the early 1950s, outside of town. Now, and after decades of use, it has become worn and surrounded by new development.
Utah Senator Jerry Stevenson explained that with every year, the prison brings on new demands that are becoming harder and harder to accommodate.
“It’s just something we have to do you know," he said. "Facilities wear out, methods for taking care of these kind of things change and become better, and that’s the reasoning were making a move.”
In the current prison, the inmates are lacking basic facilities to meet their needs. Men and women are having to share medical services - sometimes meaning they don’t get their treatment when they need it. Counseling services are limited. And GED and other classes are having to be taught in the hallways.
Utah Senator Lyle Hillyard said that with the risings statistics of returning inmates, they’ve been looking for a change that can give inmates the resources they need to leave prison and not return.
“We have a real problem in Utah with a large number of inmates who are released from prison without adequate training and counseling and help who end up just coming back," Hillyard said. "So that really became the impetus to get something going.”
The prison will be located near the Salt Lake City International Airport and is set to open by June 2022.