New panel to supervise prison move
Published: March 7, 2014 08:33PM
Updated: March 7, 2014 09:28PM
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Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Inmates at the Utah State Prison in Draper spend some free time outside the old Wasatch unit built in the early 1950s. They are surrounded by three high fences with razor wire.

A proposal to create a new commission responsible for locating a new home for the state’s primary correctional facility got a green light from a Senate committee on Friday.

The Prison Relocation Commission would identify a site or sites for one or more new facilities to replace the Utah State Prison in Draper and solicit construction proposals. It would present its recommendations to the Legislature next year. The panel’s only voting members would be lawmakers.

SB268, sponsored by Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson, R-Layton, also would set aside a little over $5 million to pay for siting services and salaries of lawmakers serving on and staff assigned to the commission.

The commission would include three senators and four representatives; each group must include one minority party member. The executive directors of the Utah Department of Corrections and the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice would also be nonvoting members of the commission.

The bill would lop off the duty to figure out how to redevelop the nearly 700 acres the prison currently occupies, which Stevenson said is a “debate for another day. That discussion is off the table for this particular commission.”

The committee also approved SB270, which would repeal the Prison Relocation and Development Authority, the committee that decided moving the prison made sense economically and given inmate growth projections and programming needs. It also approved a concurrent resolution in support of relocating the prison. HCR8, already approved by the House, now just needs to clear the Senate.