County officials tour jail expansion


June 28, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Curry County Adult Detention Center Administrator Mark Gallegos addresses the crowd before beginning the tour.

CLOVIS - It is often said it takes a village to raise any generation. Should their paths go astray, the criminal justice system has secure villages more commonly known as detention centers.

Curry County's village gets a little larger this week, as officials plan to start using their recently completed detention center expansion. A tour of the facility was offered Wednesday to county officials and media, with Administrator Mark Gallegos leading an hourlong journey through the $12.8 million renovation.

Following three unsuccessful special elections to fund a new jail through property tax increases, the county went with the expansion through a 0.25% gross tax receipts increase in 2014 to pay for the renovation and the county's administrative complex on Gidding Street. The renovation adds a 48-bed housing unit, two recreation yards and a medical unit covering 28,860 square feet.

Other additions include a new sally-port, pre-booking space, medical exam area, holding cells and an inmate property room - all facets that Gallegos said will make the entire detention center run more smoothly.

The new housing addition, Gallegos said, will only house females and only males will be housed in the previously existing portion of the CCADC.

The county broke ground on the expansion just over two years ago, and saw numerous delays impact its original October 2019 completion goal. The most recent delay included the acquisition of security cameras, which were in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on global manufacturing.

Gallegos stressed that the final product will help all stakeholders be more efficient. He pointed to a pre-booking area that gets law enforcement agencies out quicker with a body scanner that cuts a seven-minute process to two and three holding cells in the booking area that can be used if there is a surge. The 8-by-12 holding cells are slightly larger than the 7-by-12 cells in each pod.

The scanner was provided through a seven-year, $137,000 purchase/lease agreement and is partially funded by the county's 37% cut of commissary sales.

The new infrastructure, Gallegos said, helps the staff meet various requirements that include booking an inmate within an hour of arrival.

"We have 190 individual standards we have to follow," Gallegos said. "When we get audited, we have to demonstrate we're following that."

The tour included an evidence room with a lamination machine that preserves the contents of a wallet and a medical center with office space, three examination rooms and a main observation room to meet requirements of inmate physicals inside of 14 days.

"It's a small city," Gallegos said. "We have to have amenities. We have to have a physical plant."

Inside the pods, a corner console is housed to allow for videoconferencing between inmates and friends and family members. Those on the outside can set up a visitation through and either connect through the CCADC's visitor areas or various Internet-capable devices.

Commissioners came away impressed with the new addition and were confident in the current staff.

"It's come a long way from when it opened in 1993 with 103 inmates," said Commissioner Chet Spear, himself a former CCADC administrator. "I'm impressed with the operations side of it, the way Mark and his staff have been working."


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