Roosevelt County Jail making positive changes

Roosevelt County Jail making positive changes

Amarillo, TX - The Roosevelt County Detention Center is making headlines yet again. This time, however, it's because change is happening for the better.

The jail has had its share of bad press after 5 inmates escaped in 2013 and just last year another on yard duty attacked an officer with an axe. But today, officials say the past in the past and the jail is moving forward.

"I feel more human," Danny Espinoza, an inmate at the jail said. These are words Espinoza never thought he'd say after spending a lengthy time in the jail.

Espinoza was known as one of the most unruly, out of control inmates in the entire jail, however today, officer's said he's changed and it's all thanks to the jail's new beginnings.

"Sometimes when I look at changes I always like to title that as enhancements," Lt. Mark Gallegos said. "And part of the thing is that when we came inside the facility on June 8, when I came inside. Te enhancements are to ensure that we provide a safe and secure environment for not only the staff, the inmates and also the public."

Lt. Gallegos said the jail is moving toward providing more programming for the inmates and getting rid of hostile environments. He adds that inmates who are kept locked down for too long show more aggressive behavior, and Espinoza is a prime example.

"Now they are more considerate and caring," Espinoza said. "They work with you on a one on one basis instead of saying just lock him down because he's just doing it and acting out just because he's locked up. You know, you confine me with all my energy and my energy turns negative."

The jail has also implemented 208 standards that inmates and officers must abide by.

These standards can be found in all pods, where inmates can review them and know the policies staff must follow, which officers said creates a sense of equality. Along with these standards, Lt. Gallegos has demanded staff treat inmates with respect if they wish to receive it in turn.

Now, the jail is moving forward, always looking ahead and taking the next step to get both men and women inmates back to a life worth living.

Lt. Gallegos said none of this would've been possible without the County Commissioners and County Manager's tools to ensure the safety and security of the staff and public.