On March 21, the Utah Department of Corrections and the Utah Department of Administrative Services held a stakeholder roundtable to provide updates on the development of the New Utah State Correctional Facility and to answer questions and seek input from community interest groups.
About two dozen members of the community attended along with government officials.
Project Director, Steve Turley opened the meeting by giving a status report that included a discussion about the haul road construction, the plans for utility lines, and the project groundbreaking that is scheduled for June 15, 2017. In addition, he discussed the logistics and timeline for bringing in the one million tons of needed fill to prepare the site for construction.
Director of Institutional Programming, Dr. Victor Kersey, then answered the group’s questions that were primarily focused on programming. Dr. Kersey made it clear that in order for a program to be implemented, it must show quantifiable evidence that it reduces recidivism, increases safety, or increases an inmate’s employability after he/she gets released.
Dr. Kersey also spoke about the importance of normalizing life within the correctional facility and the efforts being made to ensure that inmates’ lives remain as normal as possible. This means that instead of inmates eating alone in their cells, they will be able to eat at a table in a cafeteria-style setting, instead of having their laundry picked up from and delivered back to their cells, they’ll will be responsible for taking it down themselves, and if they’d like a haircut, they’ll need to make an appointment. If inmates engage in normative behavior while incarcerated, they are more likely to be successful when they are released. The new correctional facility is being designed with this in mind.
The next meeting will be scheduled for May or June.