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Lawmakers checking off to-do list before beginning construction of new Utah State Prison in SLC

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Posted at 7:54 PM, Nov 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-05 21:54:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY – Plans to move the Utah State Prison to Salt Lake City are moving forward, and on Thursday the Prison Development Commission met at the Utah State Capitol.

With plans in place to build the state prison near I-80 and 7200 West, lawmakers finalized the type of construction management process they’ll use.

Senator Jerry Stevenson, R-District 21 and president of the Prison Development Commission, says the option they’ve selected allows the state to stay involved in the design and planning process. It also allows them to utilize local construction companies during the 4-year project.

“This is called CMCG,” Stevenson said.

The commission also gave the green light to the Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM) to hire someone who will oversee the construction operation.

“Probably won't see a lot of buildings put on site for about a year and a half, and then we'll start to see some things pop up, but they will not be the critical facilities,” Stevenson said.

Representative Erik Hutchings, R-District 38, is on board with architectural planning.

“I think what the people of Utah want is they want us to design a system and a prison that is going to help people to become better,” Hutchings said.

But he doesn’t want his colleagues to lose sight of their mission: to reform the criminal justice system and rehabilitate inmates.

“If we don't change the processes and the systems internally, it's going to be a brand new paint job on an old car,” Hutchings said.

“We see it as a prison improvement process,” said Anna Brower with ACLU of Utah.

Brower said the commission must continue to be transparent in this process and include the public every step of the way.

“It's time for community input into operation, programming and maintenance of this prison, really to hold the legislature and others into account for the promises that they made,” Brower said.

The commission didn’t give a timeline as to what decision they’ll make next, but they say they’re scheduled to meet again before the upcoming legislative session.