(Photographed: Wasatch in 1956 and Wasatch in 2013)
Wasatch is the oldest building in the Utah State Prison system. It began housing inmates in 1951, when the Utah State Prison was moved to Draper from its previous location in Salt Lake City where Sugar House Park now sits. Since that time, the prison complex in Draper has gradually expanded and now houses approximately 4,300 offenders at capacity. In addition to housing medium security offenders, Wasatch also hosts the prison’s infirmary, a Family History Center, a non-denominational chapel, and a gymnasium for recreation. In total, Wasatch can hold nearly 800 offenders at capacity.
Wasatch A West (pictured below left) serves as an overflow for R&O (Uinta 5). It is generally intended as a short-term housing situation for offenders who are just entering the prison system and are in the process of being assessed. The unit can house 95 offenders at capacity.
Wasatch A East (pictured below right) can house 95 offenders at capacity. Like Wasatch A West behind it, A East is a three-tiered housing unit that uses the old manual “Johnson Bar” system seen at Alcatraz. Offenders in A East are single-celled, meaning they do not have cellmates. Their out of cell time and other allowances vary based on the privilege levels and property matrix classifications. They can earn and lose privileges, like other inmates in the prison system. They have the ability to move around the prison facility to attend work on site, to go to educational courses, life skills classes, and other programs. Movement for all inmates is restricted to a specific “movement” time and offenders must submit to several counts each day during which staff account for each and every inmate in the prison system.
Baker Block is a medium-security housing area inside the Wasatch building. Baker Block can house 192 offenders at capacity.
B-North is a medium-security housing area inside the Wasatch building specifically geared toward offenders with lower IQs or who have learning impairments. The purpose of segregating these offenders from the rest of the population is two-fold: first, to ensure they get the appropriate assistance they need to improve their lives, and second, to keep them away from other offenders who might prey on them or take advantage of them due to their relatively low mental capacity. B-North can house 28 inmates at capacity.
Charlie Block houses 68 offenders at capacity. Inmates generally seek to be housed in this area of the prison system due to its multitude of educational and programming opportunities. Inmates in this section have a relatively high degree of flexibility in terms of their movement and privilege allowances. Many serve as mentors to other offenders in addition to being students. Inmates in this area often take part in distance learning, where they can continue their education through mail-in school programs. Inmates must be very well behaved and follow rules closely to be housed in this area of the prison system.
D-Block (sometimes called “Dog Block”) houses 192 offenders at capacity. Many offenders who have undergone sex offender treatment or who are awaiting entry to the prison’s Sex Offender Treatment Program are housed here, though not every offender in this unit is a sex offender. Housing officials attempt to keep sex offenders separate from segments of the population who would seek to harm them on account of their crimes, which are often looked down upon even among the inmate population.
The Wasatch Infirmary is intended as an on-site facility where doctors can stabilize offenders undergoing emergent situations, or proactively treat other issues that might arise. Offenders in any part of the prison system can submit care requests and be seen by medical professionals. The infirmary hosts a tele-med system, whereby inmates can attend doctor appointments with outside professionals in a way that does not require them to be transported off the prison site by officers. The infirmary also hosts a physical therapist to prevent surgeries or other issues from becoming more serious and further draining taxpayer resources, as well as a dental facility. Elderly inmates who are so deteriorated they cannot function in the prison population are housed in this unit’s Hospice care where they have close access to medical professions. Also, inmates who display particularly concerning behavior, such as suicidal tendencies, are sometimes housed here to be more carefully monitored in a cell that minimizes their access to materials that they might use as means to harm themselves.
USP - Draper Facilities
CUCF - Gunnison Facilities
Utah State Prison - Draper
Central Utah Correctional Facility - Gunnison
Division of Institutional Operations