Wasatch is the oldest facility at the Utah State Prison. It has housed inmates since 1951, when the State prison was moved to Draper from the site in Salt Lake City where Sugar House Park now sits. Since then, the prison complex has gradually expanded and now houses approximately 4,300 inmates at capacity.
Wasatch houses medium-security inmates as is where the prison’s infirmary is located. It also includes the Culinary, barbershop, library, a Family History Center, a non-denominational chapel and a recreation gymnasium. In total, Wasatch has capacity for nearly 800 inmates.
Wasatch A West (pictured below left) serves as short-term, overflow housing for Receiving and Orientation, located in Uinta 5. The unit can house 95 offenders at capacity.
Wasatch A East (pictured below right) can house 95 offenders at capacity.
Both sections are three-tiered housing units that use the old manual “Johnson Bar” system, brought from Sugar House, seen at Alcatraz.
Offenders in A East are single-celled, meaning they do not have cellmates. Inmates' time out of their cells and other allowances vary based on privilege level and classification. Inmates can earn and lose privileges, like other inmates in the prison system. They have the ability to move around the facility to engage in work, attend educational courses, life skills classes and engage in other programs.
Wasatch Baker Block is a medium-security housing area inside the Wasatch building. Baker Block can house 192 offenders at capacity.
(NOTE: This section was closed in October 2015 due to a staffing shortage.) Wasatch B-North is a medium-security housing area geared for inmates with lower IQs or those who have learning impairments. The purpose of segregating these inmates 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 inmates who might prey on or take advantage of them. B-North can house 28 inmates.
(NOTE: This section was closed in October 2015 due to a staffing shortage.) Wasatch Charlie Block houses 68 offenders at capacity. Inmates generally seek to be housed here because of the multitude of educational and programming opportunities. Inmates in this section have a relatively high degree of flexibility in terms of movement and privilege allowances. Many serve as educational mentors to other inmates. Inmates in this area often take part in distance learning, where they may continue their education through mail-in school programs. Inmates must be very well behaved and follow rules closely to be housed here.
D-Block (sometimes called “Dog Block”) houses 192 inmates at capacity. Many inmates who have undergone sex offender treatment or who are awaiting entry to the sex offender program are housed here, though not every inmate in this unit is a sex offender. The prison attempts to keep sex offenders separate from inmates who might attempt to harm them because of their crimes, which are often looked down upon even among the inmate population.