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Why The Prison Relocation Commission Is Taking So Long

Utah Department of Corrections

Early last year the Utah State Legislature established the Prison Relocation Commission team to develop a new correctional facility to replace the Utah State Prison in Draper. In February, months behind schedule, the team chose five finalist sites.

The Prison Relocation Commission was scheduled to complete operational and architectural programs by January, but that point is still not in sight.

Since July of last year, the number of sites being considered has been whittled down from 50 to 26 to 6 to 3, then back to 5 and later up to 17 after the commission released a study last week.

Robert Nardi is the senior vice president of a consulting group working with the commission. Nardi said the number of possible sites is now back to five.

“The commission members, because of the human cry from several of the host communities, said, ‘Let’s revisit the siting process. Let’s see if there’s anything else out there that may have been overlooked,’ as a means to find a site that may be less objectionable to the host community,” Nardi said.

The Prison Relocation Commission has been searching for a suitable site for almost a year now. Nardi said the decision deserves the time that is being dedicated to it.

“It’s a $500 million facility, and it’s a complicated facility,” he said. “It’s a very, very large series of building. It’s got a high value. And you’re really not in a position make any sort of mistake or overlook anything of importance.”

Of the five locations being considered, there is currently no front runner. Further technical evaluations are still being conducted. Nardi estimates that once the site is chosen, construction will take between 30 and 36 months.