Weeks ending April 5 and March 29, 2015

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CENTRAL UTAH CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

Prison expansion welcomed by central Utah community by Sam Penrod, KSL.com

“As the debate about the future of the Utah State Prison in Draper continues, the Department of Corrections broke ground Monday to expand the prison in Sanpete County.”

As cities protest prison sites, Gunnison welcomes expansion by Ben Winslow, Fox13Now

“Deputy warden Shane Nelson moves quickly through the units of the Central Utah Correctional Facility, showing off their efforts to rehabilitate inmates. In one unit, a group of inmates do drills to motivate each other in recovery from substance abuse addiction. In other parts of the facility, they do sewing jobs or make road signs for the state. Nelson gave FOX 13 a tour of the facility on Monday, after local officials broke ground on an expansion of the sprawling facility.”

Central Utah town welcomes prison expansion by Christopher Smart, The Salt Lake Tribune

“While several Wasatch Front cities have spurned a proposed Utah State Prison move to their communities, folks in this Sanpete County town couldn’t be happier that the Central Utah Correctional Facility is located here. On Monday, Department of Corrections officials broke ground on a $30 million expansion of the existing 1,600-inmate facility in Gunnison. Upon completion in August 2016, it will add an additional 192 beds and require 76 more employees.”

State Corrections Breaks Ground on $30 Million Expansion of CUCF by Bob Nelson, KUER

“The Utah Department of Corrections broke ground for expansion of the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison Monday.”

PRISON RELOCATION

New study gives insight into how prison sites chosen by Kelly Catalfamo, The Associated Press (in KSL.com)

“A new study offers some insight into how five locations were chosen earlier this year as the top contenders for a relocation of the state prison.”

Herbert gives OK for prison-site selection, signs bill trumping Salt Lake City drive-thru ordinance by Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The plan to move the Utah prison from Draper took another step forward Wednesday, as Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill giving the Prison Relocation Commission authority to recommend a final site later this summer.”

UTAH STATE PRISON

Cafe run by inmates plays on ‘Serving Time’ by Kurt Hanson, The Daily Herald

“With the fervor surrounding the relocation of the Utah State Prison, legislators are now debating how and where to place more than 4,000 beds, up-to-date technology and auxiliary services such as classrooms and laundry services. Not to mention about a dozen tables, a few dozen chairs, a grill and a cash register from the Serving Time Café.”

 

DEATH PENALTY

Utah Brings Back Firing Squad Executions: Witnesses Recall the Last One by NPR Staff

“Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state’s default execution method.”

IN COURT

Lovell sentenced to death again for 1985 murder of South Ogden woman by Ben Winslow, Fox13

“For the second time, Doug Lovell has been sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of Joyce Yost. After deliberating for about 11 hours, a jury handed down the death sentence against Lovell on Wednesday. As 2nd District Court Judge Michael DiReda read the verdict, jurors appeared to be visibly upset. Some looked like they were crying.”

Former NASCAR driver Tyler Walker sentenced to prison for drug charges, 150-mph police chase by Jerry Bonkowski, NASCARTalk NBC Sports

“Former NASCAR driver Tyler Walker is heading to prison for the three-state, 150-mph car chase in January 2013 he was involved in.”

Utah appeals court rejects prison officers’ breach-of-contract claim by Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The Utah Court of Appeals has sided against workers who transport Utah inmates to and from the prison, saying the state Department of Corrections did not breach a pay agreement with the officers.”

Boy, 16, who murdered brothers sent to prison 4 years early by Ben Lockhart, Deseret News

“A teenage boy [Aza Vidinhar] convicted of murdering his two younger brothers in West Point was ordered Monday to begin serving time at the Utah State Prison about four years earlier than originally planned.”

Sentencing Report from the Daily Herald

Sentencing Report from the Daily Herald

OPINION

Justice Kennedy’s Plea to Congress, The New York Times

“Members of the Supreme Court rarely speak publicly about their views on the sorts of issues that are likely to come before them. So it was notable when Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer sat before a House appropriations subcommittee recently and talked about the plight of the American criminal justice system.”

SLC in a sales-tax conundrum, but tying it to a possible prison relocation isn’t the answer, The Deseret News

“A new law governing the process of relocating the Utah State Prison contains a provision that would allow Salt Lake City to raise its sales tax rate if it is chosen as the site of a new prison. The decision to combine municipal tax policy with the relocation effort is bothersome on a number of fronts.”

State Legislature could avoid headaches by keeping the prison in Draper by Ron Carlson, Carlson Communications, in the Deseret News

“Fortunately, the Utah State Legislature voted to allow a full vote on where the Utah State Prison will be located. Prior to that, the Prison Relocation Commission (PRC) would have made the final decision.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

UofU students work with defense case in teen charged with murder, the Standard Examiner

“Details of the case haunted the normally quiet suburban community of Draper, Utah: On March 11, 2012, the body of a severely beaten 15-year-old girl turned up in the Jordan River.”

A Republican Governor Is Leading the Country’s Most Successful Prison Reform by Naomi Shavin, The New Republic

“During his second inaugural address this past January, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal shared the story of Sean Walker. After serving 12 years of a life sentence for murder, Walker was paroled in 2005 and began working in the governor’s mansion while in a state transitional center.”

Controversial Early Release Program for Inmates Lowering Recidivism in Connecticut by Ray Hardman, WNPR

“In 2011, the state adopted a Risk Reduction Earned Credit, or RREC program, where certain prisoners can have their sentences reduced by participating in prison programs, and for good behavior. RREC has been controversial, but new statistics show the program has been effective in reducing recidivism rates.”

Fairly assessing risk and recidivism by Dawinder Sidhu, The Baltimore Sun

“The use of big data to track and analyze human behavior has crept into perhaps the most consequential and sensitive of contexts in society — criminal sentencing.”

Justice Reform: Georgia’s Bipartisan Cinderella Story by Rachel Lu, The Federalist

“Tonight, at the Georgia Pacific Auditorium in Atlanta, a group of panelists will meet to discuss one area of American policy where smart thinking and bipartisanship are actually making things better. The topic is criminal justice reform. A lot is going right in the state of Georgia, and the panelists will explain why we should do more of it.”

New projects, laws help prison college programs gain steam by Kaitlin Mulhere, Inside Higher Ed

“Twenty-five miles from Montgomery, Ala., in the middle of the tough-on-crime, fiscally conservative Deep South, sits an unusual place of learning.”

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