Week ending March 1, 2015


Prison Relocation Commission ready to dial back in governor, full Legislature by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“The Legislature’s Prison Relocation Commission is no longer seeking the authority to make the final decision on where to move the Utah State Prison, now in Draper.”

Legislature will have the final say on prison move by Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Legislative leaders are dropping a plan that would have allowed the Prison Relocation Commission to unilaterally decide where to build a new $500 million correctional facility. Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he’s embracing the change in strategy after receiving “feedback from colleagues.”

State commission now looking at 5 spots for new Utah prison by Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press (in the Daily Herald)

“A short list of possible locations for a new state prison grew Friday when a state commission working on the project decided to look at two more spots in northern Utah.”

New Utah prison sites being considered; see if any are in your area by Ben Winslow, Fox13

“Five potential sites have been identified for the Utah State Prison to move to, but opponents continue to insist that it stay put in Draper.”

Herbert Threatens Veto Over Prison Relocation; Hits House for Blocking Healthy Utah by Bob Bernick, UtahPolicy.com

“Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday morning that he would veto any bill that cut the executive branch out of the decision to where the new half-billion-dollar state prison should be located.”

Lawmakers asked to give commission authority to relocate state prison by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“Lawmakers could avoid deciding where to relocate the Utah State Prison from Draper under a proposal from House leadership that would leave the choice up to the Legislature’s Prison Relocation Commission.”

Prison Relocation Could Cause Collateral Political Damage by Bob Bernick, UtahPolicy.com

“The surprise announcement in Tuesday’s open House GOP caucus that Republican leaders don’t want the Legislature as a whole to decide where the new half-a-billion-dollar prison will be built, upon reflection, shows not only a bit of political dodge ball, but political reality, as well.”


Good 4 Utah tours Utah State Prison by Ali Monsen, KTVX

“News crews ventured deep into the Utah State Prison, Thursday, seeing what prison staff call, “deplorable” and “outdated” conditions, firsthand.”

Department of Corrections administrators make their case for a relocated prison by Kurt Hanson, Daily Herald

“Behind the thousands of yards of razor wire, through the automatic gated doors, past countless correctional officers, and through the dilapidated door, he sits on his sagging mattress.”

12 things you didn’t know about the Utah State Prison by Jordan Carroll, Daily Herald

“In a quick and special 2.5 hour media tour on Thursday, Feb. 26, the Utah Department of Corrections director, warden and correctional officers showed various aspects of the women’s, men’s, mental health and infirmary facilities at the Utah State Prison in Draper. Here are 12 things you might not have known about the prison housed in our own backyard.”


Criminal justice reforms mean less prisoners, more parole supervision by Rod Decker, KUTV

“Utah legislators are changing criminal justice to put fewer criminals in prison and more under parole supervision. Geri Miller-Fox, Director of Adult Probation and Parole sees pressure coming and says her people will work smarter.”


Utah inmates paint toy cars for kids in Philippines by Megan Marsden Christensen

“Many inmates at the Central Utah Correctional Facility recently spent hours painting and detailing tiny toy cars for children in the Philippines. This isn’t the first time the inmates have spent their time serving underprivileged children.”


West Point teen who murdered 2 brothers pleads guilty aggravated assault by Pat Reavy, Deseret News/KSL.com

“A 16-year-old West Point boy already convicted in juvenile court of murdering his two younger brothers has now been convicted of aggravated assault in adult court.”

Utah Supreme Court upholds life sentence for man convicted of murder as a teen by Loretta Park, Standard Examiner

“The Utah Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a man who admitted to raping and killing a woman when he was 17 years old will serve life without parole at the Utah State Prison.”


Don’t turn prison relocation decision over to a small group by Jay Evensen, Deseret News

“When the current legislative session started, new House Speaker Greg Hughes talked about tackling the “big, hard fights,” which he said could be “potentially transformational” for the state of Utah.”

Tooele County is still the wrong place for Utah State Prison by Jewel Allen, The Salt Lake Tribune

“With pleasure, I learned that Rep. Merrill Nelson’s bill, HB262, which allows the option of considering the current site for the prison, has been co-sponsored by the following legislators… ”


Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work by Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times

“Michael Hugh Mirsky landed a temporary job in December rolling stacks of crated milk and orange juice to the loading docks at a commercial dairy in central New Jersey. He’s not making much, and he doesn’t know how long it will last, but after 30 months of unemployment, he counts himself lucky. Mr. Mirsky is a convicted criminal, and work is hard to find.”

Do Sex Offender Registries Reduce Recidivism by Paul Heroux, Massachusetts state representative, The Huffington Post

“No. Or at least that is what the empirical evidence and research on this issue shows. But that doesn’t mean we should not have them. The fact is that the registries don’t really do anything to improve public safety. They just make people feel safer and in control; unfortunately this is a false sense of security.”

Midland County recidivism rates on the decline by Brandon Mulder, Midland Reporter-Telegram (Texas)

“Texas’ prison reforms beginning in 2007 revolutionized the state’s long-standing “lock-em-up” philosophy. Over the years, the reforms have been lauded for abating the pressures of overcrowded prisons and efficiently using taxpayer dollars. But how these reforms translate from county to county can vary.”

More Opportunities, Fewer Sentences by Samantha Gupta, Harvard Political Review

“Starting with the advent of the penal laws of late 18th century America, Congress has enacted mandatory minimum sentences for a specific range of crimes. These mandatory minimums force judges to sentence a criminal for a minimum amount of time or severity regardless of the details of the case.”

Visitation helps inmates avoid reoffending by Tom Dennis, Grand Forks Herald (Minnesota)

“In his column on today’s editorial page, Jerry Waletzko suggests that a strong and well-managed visitors’ program can help keep prison inmates on the “straight and narrow” after release. Fine theory. But is it fact? The answer is yes, a study by the Minnesota Department of Corrections concluded as recently as 2011.”

Expanding inmate drug treatment and starting it earlier will mean fewer people returning to prison by The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

“Nearly 45 percent of inmates who enter Ohio state prisons each year — almost 9,000 people — serve less than a year. Many, if not most, of these prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders who need treatment. Until now, however, a lack of time and resources has left them untreated and far more likely to relapse and return to prison, where they each cost taxpayers $25,000 a year or more.”

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