IRON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Iron County Commissioners will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22 about the proposed construction of a new Correctional Facility in Iron County.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at Festival Hall, and will be an open house, public hearing to educate the public, as well as to receive comments regarding the proposed facility.

It is anticipated that the final decision regarding site and scaled will be made on March 14.

Here are some Q&A’s provided by the Iron County Commission:

Why do we need a new jail?

Simply put, our current facility is worn out and Iron County has outgrown it. The current Iron
County Correctional Facility was built in 1987 and is the oldest county jail in the state. Additionally, it is at capacity due to our population more than tripling in size since it was first built and the fact that it was built to only house 4 female inmates. It is increasingly difficult to find space for persons arrested by local law enforcement.

Why are we building a jail instead of more schools?

The County doesn’t build schools; the School District is in charge of building schools and has its own source of revenues to do so. The two entities perform completely different tasks by State Constitution and don’t directly compete for resources.

What is the difference between a jail, a prison, and a penitentiary?

All three are considered correctional facilities. Simply put: Counties operate jails and are the first place an accused criminal is locked up. Jails hold accused persons going through the court process and inmates convicted of lesser crimes serving sentences under a year. States operate prisons, with higher security and hold inmates convicted of more severe crimes serving sentences over a year, and the Federal Government
operates Penitentiaries with the highest security holding inmates convicted of federal crimes.

Does the county make money on the jail?

No, even after the revenue we receive from State and Federal inmate reimbursements, the county still pays approximately 4 Million dollars to operate the jail from tax revenue. Some counties with large numbers of contract inmates pay for the entirety of their jail expenses from contract inmate reimbursements. Iron County does not.

What are the chances of a successful inmate escape?

The reality is that inmate escapes from within a correctional facility in the US are very rare. Statistically, when they do happen, they are almost without exception “walk-offs”. This happens during times when inmates are allowed to leave the facility for court-ordered release for a funeral or hospital stay, or during a work release program when a low security inmate simply walks off and doesn’t return as agreed. These are extremely unfortunate, but beyond the control of the Correctional Facility that is following the law. The rare escapes of incarcerated individuals most often happen during transportation which is one of the main reasons to shorten transportation times or avoid it completely by co-locating the courts on-site.

According to sentencingproject.org, the number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons increased by 9.7% from 1,391,261 to 1,526,792 between 2000 and 2015.

In addition to the nearly 1.5 million people in state and federal prisons, there were 721,300 people in local jails, yielding a total incarcerated population of 2.2 million.

1 in every 115 adults in America was in prison or jail in 2015.

4.6 million people were on probation or parole for a total of 6.7 million people in America under some form of criminal justice supervision.

The 2015 U.S. incarceration rate of 670 people per 100,000 population is the highest in the world.