Maryann Martindale, Better UTAH executive director, cautioned PRADA to be fully transparent as they move forward with their analysis.
“The importance of PRADA’s role in investigating whether the state prison should be moved cannot be overstated,” said Martindale. “We hope the committee will continue to act in the public’s general interest, and not the interest of the developers.”
The letter details four major concerns that members of PRADA should consider when deciding whether or not to move the state prison. Those concerns include:
1. PRADA members should consider prison policy reform as an essential element to any consideration of building a new prison.
2. PRADA’s self-imposed deadline to submit a recommendation by January 31, 2014 does not give the board enough time to ensure optimal decision-making.
3. Large-scale use of county jails to house prisoners that otherwise would be at a state prison is bad policy.
4. The favorable economics of any prison relocation must be self-evident; PRADA should resist relying on speculative economic benefits such as the projected appreciation of the land near the prison and projected tax revenues.
A full copy of the letter can be found here: http://betterutah.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PRADA-board-letter.pdf