Denial of jail bond puts Curry County back to square one

Denial of jail bond puts Curry County back to square one

NewsChannel 10

Clovis, New Mexico - The Curry County Detention Center is back to square one, after a bond proposal for much-needed renovations was vetoed by voters.

There are many immediate needs to fill for the jail, but no way to do so.    

The project was actually a "plan b" solution, so now county leaders are forced to look elsewhere for an answer.

Jail Administrator Gerry Billy says, "I won't dismiss the fact that it was a critical component to the success of our criminal justice system."

Now county leaders are grappling to come up with a new plan of action.

Billy explains, "Logically you would think there would be Plan C, but I'm not really certain right now."

County Commissioner Chairman Wendell Bostwick adds, "We've got to look at other alternatives, and that's what the bond election has forced us into, because the needs didn't go away."

For now, they will take the situation day by day, and look to grants, inmate labor, and general funds for help.

Billy says, "Now we are treading water. We are trying to find the best avenues the county can take, in the best interest of this county and certainly our inmate population."

Perhaps the most vital part of the plan, the special housing unit, now seems to be off the table.

The unit would have solved the overcrowding problems and taken care of prisoners with special needs, but now the jail will be forced to continue to spend money on housing inmates out-of-state.

Bostwick says, "That will cost us anywhere from $45 to $100 a day depending on where we have to house them. That's where the $770,000 went last year in our budget."

However, jail officials say the addition of a special housing unit has to happen eventually, they just don't know when, or how.

This is the second time in less than two years Curry County voters have refused to approve bond issues for the jail.