SALT LAKE CITY -- Showing obvious pleasure and even a bit of excitement, Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he was "happy and thrilled" with the presentation by the Utah Department of Corrections on a proposal to relocate the state prison.
Wilson's remarks came after a 90-minute explanation by Rollin Cook, the new executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections and his deputy, Mike Haddon.
Wilson said he was particularly pleased with the way the department is "using the opportunity they have to reduce recidivism and improve their efficiency."
A big focus at the prison relocation authority meeting was what members called a "dual track" -- continuing to gather data while also issuing a request for proposal. This allows those who want to, to provide some part of whatever takes place, whether it is a new prison or privatization or a combination of the two.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, a member of the 11-member authority, said he hadn't decided "if relocating the prison is something that should happen or should not happen." McAdams said he thought any requests for proposals should include the opportunity for proposers to focus on individual parts of a proposal and not be required to submit a single all-encompassing plan.
In a motion to move forward with the proposal-gathering process, Wilson said it has long been assumed that "this is all about developing the 700 acres in Draper (where the current prison sits), and that is not the case and has never been the case."
Instead of the so-called dual track, he said, the state needs multiple tracks.
Wilson said the committee should:
First, continue looking at salient facts to understand what the issues are, including making site visits to other facilities to see what they have done.
Second, consider programming and what the future looks like for the department.
Third, continue appraisals and environmental studies.
Fourth, get started with drafting the proposal process.
Wilson went on to propose that a "working group or subcommittee" be formed to look at the request for proposal process and start drafting the RFP.
Committee Chairman Lane Summerhays, who is also chairman of the board of the Workers Compensation Fund, asked for volunteers to be on such a subcommittee, and ended up naming himself; McAdams; Draper Mayor Darrell Smith; Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns; and S. Camille Anthony, associate director of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, to that subcommittee.
Cook said things have progressed away from the old idea of "locking someone up and warehousing them." He said "putting someone behind bars doesn't help them," and that "more targeted and expanded prison-based services can lead to better outcomes."
Another meeting of the authority has been scheduled for Thursday to examine progress that has been made. In addition, site visits to different facilities have been scheduled. The committee wants to have an RFP finalized and ready to submit by Sept. 15.