Roosevelt County jail population up

Jared Tucker:

Jared Tucker

Inmate population at the Roosevelt County Detention Center is up from this time last year, according to detention center officials.

The total number of inmates incarcerated in Roosevelt County was 108 as of Thursday afternoon, a significant increase from 78 on the same day in 2009, according to jail officials.

Cpl. Clay Layher said the summer months generally result in a higher population, but there’s more to the increase than just the weather.

“It’s the same people doing the same thing and doing it more often, and getting caught more often. We do see many times, the same people going in and out,” Layher said.

At one time, Layher said, there were four generations from one family in jail at the same time.

In 2008, the average inmate population was 80, a number that went up to 84 in 2009. Since Jan. 2010, numbers show the average daily population at 97 inmates.

Layher said the increased population isn’t causing a burden on his 27 detention officers, and the jail is adequately staffed to handle the increase.

One inmate said he can definitely feel the squeeze of the higher inmate population.

Portales resident David Wood has been in jail for 80 days on a probation violation, and said the increasing population has resulted in two or three other inmates having to sleep on the floor in his pod. Besides that, Wood said, operations and the daily routine appear to be the same despite the higher population.

A portion of the increase comes from bed rentals to Curry County, according to Administrator David Casanova.

Casanova said at $65 per day per inmate, the jail rents out space to Curry County to house inmates for various reasons, including inmates who have charges pending out of Roosevelt County at the same time they are facing a Curry County charge.

In August, Roosevelt County billed Curry County for $28,015 in bed rentals, an amount almost four times higher than July’s bill of only $7,504, Casanova said, and the funds go into the jail’s general fund for operational costs.

Crews were installing new digital cameras throughout the facility Thursday, a move Layher said will increase security because it provides more angles for officers to see. New kitchen equipment was also being installed.

Casanova said he plans to increase the number of bed rentals to Curry County.