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Prison relocation clears House committee

Published February 24, 2014 7:40 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The House Economic Development committee on Monday unanimously passed a resolution backing efforts to move the Utah State Prison from Draper.

Rep. Brad R. Wilson, R-Kaysville, said interest in expanding the high-tech corridor some refer to as "Silicon Slopes" is not the only motive behind the proposal. The current prison facility is falling apart and impedes the Utah Department of Corrections' ability to provide cutting-edge programs aimed at helping inmates succeed once they rejoin their communities, said Wilson, sponsor of HCR8.

Several committee members urged that the Prison Relocation and Development Authority (PRADA) pay close attention to how the project impacts traffic congestion as well as schools and local government services as it proceeds.

Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, also said lawmakers need to be "equally aware of the burdens" the prison's new home may face and ensure it properly benefits from taking on that burden. Grantsville is in Tooele County, which has expressed interest in being the location for a new prison facility.

The committee also heard from Draper Mayor Troy Walker and representatives of two groups who previously expressed opposition to the project — the Alliance for a Better Utah and the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake — but have changed their positions during the past year. The two groups said they were encouraged by PRADA's emphasis on ensuring better treatment programming and incorporating sentencing reform.

Brooke Adams