Editorial: Taxpayers have right to know jail findings

Freedom New Mexico

Reading the Security Risk Assessment report of the Curry County Adult Detention Center, it is evident why some county officials were reluctant to release it.

The findings are damning and hint, at best, at incompetence. How could elected and appointed officials have allowed such a shoddy jail to be built back in 1993, or the Annex just a few years ago?

Today’s county leaders know minor fixes won’t turn the center, scene of an eight-man breakout Aug. 24 that made national and world news, into a place to protect us from our worst.

County officials had resisted releasing this report since it was prepared Sept. 1 by Manuel Romero of the New Mexico Association of Counties. But last week they changed that stance when threatened for the second time by this newspaper with a public records lawsuit.

The report references an “abysmal physical plant design,” a need for “stricter adherence to generally accepted correctional practices, policies and procedures” and “substantial resources” to correct a long list of “serious problems” related to security.

Some county officials asked that we not

publicize everything in the 11-page report. They fear inmates and others would learn about all the jail’s weaknesses and that could lead to more security problems.

We obviously reject the reasoning. If they think past and present jail inmates don’t know what sieves the Center and the Annex are, they should read the report, or: