This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah Department of Corrections will close two facilities in the coming months in response to a dwindling inmate population and shortage of corrections officers.
The department will move 204 inmates out of the 300-bed Lone Peak minimum-security house to the Wasatch facility and 35 inmates from the 143-bed Timpanogos Women's Correctional Facility to available beds in various jails throughout the state, according to a department news release.
The number of inmates in Utah is steadily declining, with the average monthly population decreasing by 467, making it possible to close unneeded or underused facilities, the release states. As of Friday evening, there were 452 women and 5,847 men in custody with the Utah Department of Corrections.
State corrections officers also apparently are working overtime an anticipated 5,500 hours in July and August due to unfilled positions. There are 95 open staff spots at the Utah State Prison and 47 at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. Closing the two housing units will "cut almost in half the required overtime," as well as better meet safety and security standards, according to the release.
Those targeted for closing are the buildings most in need of renovation or are "inefficient to operate and manage," such as the Lone Peak facility, which is outdated in its dormitory-style setup, the release says. The Central Utah Correctional Facility plans to open a new 192-bed housing unit in the fall, when another facility will close at the Utah State Prison.
The defunct housing can be reopened in the case of an emergency or inmate population increase, the release states.