CUCF cuts ribbon on complex that will house 192
GUNNISON—A $31-million housing unit, looking as shiny as a new pair of shoes, was debuted last Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Central Utah Correctional Facility (CUCF).
Following speeches commending CUCF project managers, architects, contractors, staff from the Utah Division of Facilities Construction and Maintenance (DFCM) and others who played key roles, a lineup of officials cut the ribbon on what will be known as the Ironwood housing complex.
The new unit can house up to 192 inmates, which brings the total capacity of CUCF to 1,788 inmates. Seventy-six employees have been or will be hired to staff the unit.
Most important, the configuration of the unit reflects a prison management model sweeping the nation called “direct supervision.” (See accompanying story.)
Rather than stereotypical long hallways with bars across cells, the facility is organized into three-sided “pods.” Each pod contains 32-64 cells.
From the outside, the cells could be mistaken for college dorm rooms. But each has a sliding exterior door that can be electronically closed and locked from a control station outside the pod.
On the main level of the pod, at the head of the pod, is the direct-supervision station. Rather than the stereotype of corrections officers walking along and patrolling rows of cells, a single direct-supervision officer staffs the station. The same officer staffs the station on a daily basis. The officer knows the inmates, and they know their officer.
“By placing the officer in the pod, he or she has immediate visual observation of inmates, which allows the officer to deal with problems before they get out of hand, which enhances the safety and security of the facility,” said Steven Turley, director of the Division of Special Projects for the Utah Department of Corrections (DOC).
“Direct supervision creates a more positive environment and reduces the stress level of both officers and inmates.”
Besides CUFC and DOC management and staff, the audience of about 50 at the ribbon-cutting included Sanpete county commissioners, the county sheriff, mayors of Gunnison Valley municipalities and at least one legislator.
Before the ribbon was cut, Turley recognized people who played a key role in construction and setup of the new unit, including Shane Nelson, CUCF deputy warden, who oversaw the project, and Nelson’s support team of Capt. Kent Jolley, Lt. Shawn Youd and Tera Nelson.
Also recognized were Bruce McDonough, vice president of Layton Construction of Salt Lake City, the general contractor; DeLoy Adams, Bill Ferrara and Brad Marshall, key project managers for Layton; and architects from the Archiplex Group of Salt Lake City, designers of the structure.
Turley also commended Michael Ambre and Brian Bales DFCM “who were an awesome support team throughout the construction of the facility.”
Rollin Cook, executive director of the DOC, was absent from the ceremony because he was participating in a press conference with the governor on the governor’s new budget. Turley said the Ironwood Unit reflected Cook’s “vision of a new facility with direct supervision.”
Representing DOC was London Stromberg, deputy director, who reported that the governor’s budget was going to be a ‘big boost for our compensation plan” and for a DOC step program designed to offer career advancement for corrections officers.
Turley said CUCF had been working 24 hours per day in recent weeks to get Ironwood ready for inmates.
Nelson, the deputy warden, said the prison was screening inmates now living in other units to identify men to move to the new unit. He said CUCF didn’t have an official date for occupying the facility, but it would be “no later than the first of the year.”