Utah State Prison to shut two buildings because of lack of officers, inmate population decline

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 03:27:47-04

DRAPER, Utah — The Utah Department of Corrections has announced that it will shutter the minimum-security Lone Peak facility and one of the buildings in its Timpanogos Women’s Correctional Facility at the prison at Point of the Mountain.

In a statement Friday, the Utah Department of Corrections said it was closing down the buildings because of a dramatic shortage in corrections officers, as well as a decline in the overall inmate population.

“The Department is taking this action as it continues to manage a shortage of correctional officers that has required mandatory overtime, which can take a toll on staff and contribute to burnout. Most important, these actions ensure our ability to provide the level of supervision needed for safety and security,” Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams said in a statement.

The Utah Department of Corrections has 142 officer vacancies across its two prisons in Gunnison and Draper.

“The projected overtime need due to vacation requests and currently unfilled posts is expected to average about 5,500 hours during July and August. The closure of these two buildings will cut almost in half the required overtime,” Adams said.

The prison can re-open the buildings if the inmate population grows.

The inmate population has dropped by a monthly average of 467 since May 2015, the department said. As of Friday, there were 452 women and 5,847 men in the prisons. The state also contracts with county jails to house inmates and a new expansion of the Gunnison prison will open in the fall.

The Utah State Legislature recently selected a site for a new state prison near the Salt Lake City International Airport to replace the aging Draper facility.