Gunnison deputy warden appointed head warden at Central Utah Correctional Facility

Shane Nelson, formerly deputy warden, has been appointed as warden of the Central Utah Correctional Facility, replacing Alfred “Chuck” Bigelow, who has retired.


Gunnison deputy warden appointed head warden at Central Utah Correctional Facility


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



GUNNISON—After 10 years of working as deputy warden, Shane Nelson has been appointed head warden at the Central Utah Correctional Facility (CUCF).

According to Maria Peterson, Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) public information officer, Nelson was appointed as CUCF’s warden effective May 16, to fill the position left vacant when Alfred “Chuck” Bigelow retired.

“I look forward to continuing our collaboration and relationships with local agencies and communities,” Nelson says. “We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other.”

Nelson began his corrections career at the Utah State Prison in Draper and worked his way up the ranks, Peterson says. He also spent some time working in the Division of Adult Probation and Parole.

Ten years ago, Nelson became  CUCF deputy warden, where, according to Peterson, he led efforts to open the Ironwood Unit and to implement direct-supervision, a system where prisoners have significant control over their lives in prison.

According to Peterson, the direct supervision philosophy will serve as the operational model for the new correctional facility being built near Salt Lake City to replace the main Draper prison.

“Shane is a strong leader with a great ability to build teams and bring people together,” said UDC Executive Director Rollin Cook. “He is poised to bring increased collaboration and participation at CUCF and continue the facility’s longstanding reputation as an important and dynamic part of the UDC mission.”

Nelson is a Gunnison Valley native. He grew up in Centerfield and attended Snow College before moving to the Wasatch Front to work in corrections.