Prison Relocation Advisory Commission Tweaked

(KCPW News) In March, the Utah legislature approved the creation of an advisory commission to study proposals to relocate the Utah State Prison away from Draper. But during a special session today, House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, the Representative who sponsored the bill, was back before his colleagues to change how that will work.

“In conversations with our Governor, he would prefer that the Senate President and the House Speaker be able to pick anyone, not limit it to just lawmakers,” he tells KCPW. “So if people have expertise in corrections or roads or land use that the Speaker or the President would be able to pick someone like that to represent them on this PRADA authority.”

Hughes’ new bill also requires the Legislature’s approval for the state to sell or lease the land where the prison is located.

The lawmaker says he hopes to get the commission up and running as soon as possible. He says the group might find that now is not the right time to move the prison, but it’s their job to find out and report to the Governor.

“We think that instead of the normal procurement process, done maybe not as in such as transparent way as a public hearing, that this authority done through a public hearing is a much better process,” says Hughes. “And one that the public can observe and know it was done in the light of day.”

The Draper prison opened in 1951, long before the area was developed into a rapidly-growing city.