(KCPW News) On Thursday evening the Utah Legislature finalized and approved a plan to set up a prison relocation authority. The new board would examine the prudence of moving the state correctional facility and redeveloping the land at its current location.
Republican Representative Michael Noel, of Kanab, said that the final product was a good one.
“It’s an opportunity for us to look at a better-designed prison, a prison hopefully that will take into consideration the needs of the prisoners, that’s more efficient that’s more cost effective,” he said. “The added benefit of this would be to free up this piece of land, which I think is a good thing for our state.”
The legislation heard Thursday was the eighth-amended version of the bill.
One of the last sticking points was whether to urge the new board to examine privatizing the prison, something that troubled freshman Republican Representative Dana Layton, of Orem.
“I just want you all as reps to realize that when we deprive a citizen of their liberty, we have a moral and an ethical duty to keep direct control and not delegate that power to a profit-making entity,” Layton said.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Scott Jenkins, of Plain City, said that while language asking the board to look at privatization had been stripped from the bill, that didn’t mean that the idea wouldn’t be considered.
“It does allow the PRADA board to consider privatization and to look at the concept in what they do,” he said. “It doesn’t force it, but it allows it, and so we expect that they will do that.”
The bill passed both the house and senate in the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session.