Jan. 21, 2010
The new Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution (WMCI) officially opened on Jan. 6, 2010 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of the new facility, which is located in Torrington, Wyo. Layton Construction built the new prison and the DLR Group completed the facility's design.
Layton worked closely with Wyoming officials and the design team through a preconstruction partnership to bring construction costs within the project's budget. Construction began in April 2007 and crews worked through many difficulties, including Wyoming's harsh winter seasons as well as the fact that the project site was located on a sand dune. Approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sand had to be moved to fill in valleys as deep as 35 feet and hills as tall as 30 feet. Major subcontractors for the project came from Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
The new prison, which is nearly 350,000 square feet, has been designed to operate as a functional medium security general population facility. Components of the project included the construction of a prison, administration building, central plant, gatehouse building, warehouse, maintenance building and vocational training area. The prison itself consists of general population housing units, a geriatric/ob/gyn housing unit, sheltered housing unit, segregation housing unit and a chronic mental health housing unit. The prison will employ almost 400 staff members.
Due to a housing shortage in Wyoming prisons, 550 inmates have been sent to out-of-state facilities in recent years. The existing prisons in the state house inmates with the most chronic care issues--those with the lowest risks and needs are sent out-of-state. The new prison has nearly 700 beds, increasing the number of prison beds in the state by one-third. Additionally, according to Bob Lampert, Wyoming Department of Corrections Director, the new institution brings inmates with the highest needs together in one location where their multiple overlapping needs can more efficiently and effectively be met. The goal of the new prison is to decrease relapse offenders, which is hoped to be accomplished by providing offenders with opportunities to become law-abiding citizens through a full range of progressive work, education and treatment programs.
The WMCI's first inmates arrived in mid-January. Seventy-five inmates from the Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP) arrived on Jan. 13 and an additional 75 were transported from the WSP on Jan. 16. Inmates will continue to be sent to the WMCI on a weekly basis until all of those who were sent out-of-state are back in Wyoming. All of the inmates are at a medium custody level or lower.
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