Thursday, December 18, 2014

Draper Prison to move or not to move

Representatives and Senators, [PRC members]

re: the Draper Prison, Uinta Five Reception and Orientation building along with the Oquirrh Five Annex and almost all of Wasatch.

Based on information provided to me by constituents in my area that work at the Draper Prison, I believe at minimum, the listed Draper buildings need to be replaced. They could be replaced on site, as there seems to be enough room to double or triple the number of beds at Draper, or possibly targeted to be replaced off site, at a new prison location, such as near the Wal-Mart Distribution Center near Stansbury Mountain, in Tooele County. Based on the report, there is enough room for Gunnison to match Draper in beds as it is currently. An alternate or 3rd site is not required.

I was wondering if we have a specific cost for constructing each of these 3 complexes and if the Draper Prison can function in place without any or all of these 3 buildings. Clearly, the buildings can be built on site and then these specific existing buildings can be demolished.

It is the opinion of many that the majority of the buildings at the Draper Prison, other than these, can function for many years, if not decades.

Any new cell complex should at least have the safety of layout of the 192 bed pods at Gunnison. From an aerial photo, it appears a large percentage of the beds at Draper are in the pod or super pod type layout with the central control station.

I have stood in Wasatch, in one of the active cell block common areas with my wife. I don't like that layout. We spent two years as volunteers at the Draper Prison. It was interesting to use the non-denominational chapel that I had worked on the drawings for many years ago.

While it has been many years since I worked on construction drawings for jails and prisons, I helped with the construction drawings for a Salt Lake County Jail expansion/remodel down town (later demolished), Oxbow, Gunnison, and using the 192 bed pod system, perhaps a dozen potential 1920 bed complexes around the country. At one point, I perhaps had drawn more parking spaces and jail/prison cells than anyone I knew in the State.

Based on the information I have now, I [still] would not have voted to move the prison when [others] voted on [it] last year. I realize Draper City is tired of having the prison and the property around it is getting worth more and so the State may want to move it sometime in the next few decades.

What I said in February 2014:

Since the timeline for moving has not be agreed to by the legislature, finding out from the Prison or your consultant the cost of replacing only the 3 complexes mentioned would be helpful for direction and discussion. 

For many years, anyone moving near the Draper Prison has known it was there. It would be wise if the prison is to be moved, for residents to have many years to know it is moving and where it is moving to, long before it does.

Fred C. Cox,
Rep. Elect, House 30
West Valley City, UT 84120

PS, based on me being at the West Jordan school where they had as many as 2,500 people show up opposed to the prison moving near there, and other similar reports, I don't believe any of the current 6 sites will work.

They may be close for employees, visitors, volunteers, schools, courts, and medical, but the Draper location has those already. Those items are more important than the cost of the land in Draper, as the people involved are worth more than the buildings and the land. Again, the majority of the buildings at Draper are fine, with no rush to replace. We do need to target replacing particularly the Wasatch block cells for prison officer and inmate safety, in my opinion.