CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

State leaders cut the ribbon on new Utah State Correctional Facility

Jun 22, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:31 am

Correctional facilities...

A men’s maximum-security unit in the new Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — State leaders cut the ribbon on the new Utah State Correctional Facility Wednesday morning.

It’s located five miles west of Salt Lake City International Airport in the northwest corner of Salt Lake City.

 

Gov. Spencer Cox said, “in the next few weeks” inmates will start being moved from the current prison in Draper. He said the goal was to have the entire move completed “in the next two months.”

“It has to happen fairly quickly, and you can understand why,” he told reporters after cutting the ceremonial blue ribbon. “We can’t be operating two prisons at once; we don’t have enough staff for that.”

Cox said for security reasons they won’t say the exact date when inmates will start moving.

Cost of Utah State Correctional Facility

The development at the Draper site, as well as development that will happen around the new site, is something state leaders are touting as “worth it” for the new prison’s $1 billion dollar price tag.

Jim Russell, director of the Utah Division of Facilities and Construction Management, also noted that “millions and millions” were saved because of construction teams and state planners.

Not a ‘dead end’

During the ceremony, House Speaker Brad Wilson asked the governor to get out his “Sawzall” and cut down a dead- end sign that was posted on one of the roads leading into the new facility.

“The whole purpose of investing a billion dollars up here was to help ensure that this facility is not a dead end for the 95% that come out here, that leave here.” Wilson said, joking with the governor about tearing down the sign.

Later, in an impromptu move, the governor tore it down. Cox said the new site is not a dead end, but rather designed to help rehabilitate inmates.

“We will be teaching the inmates, giving them opportunities to improve. Giving them the tools they need to overcome addiction, to overcome trauma,” he said, “And the hope is that as they leave and come back into society that they won’t end up back in prison.”

Cox said that by changing the way Utah approaches incarceration, the state should have fewer prisoners.

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State leaders cut the ribbon on new Utah State Correctional Facility