Problems continue at jail

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Officials have cited poor construction of the facility, limitations in organizing inmates within the facility and overcrowding as ongoing reasons for the jail’s problems.

By Kevin Wilson and David Stevens

At least one Curry County jail employee has been placed on paid administrative leave and “more than one” appears to have violated county policy in connection with Sunday’s jail escape, County Manager Lance Pyle said Monday night.

The inmate police described as “dangerous” ran out an unsecured door when a detention officer became “distracted” during a work detail, officials have said.

Narcizo Soto Jr., 35, who became the jail’s 14th escapee in nine years when he ran away at 1:23 a.m. Sunday, was captured by law officers about 7:45 Sunday night.

Undersheriff Wesley Waller said Soto was found hiding in the attic of a relative’s home in the 1300 block of Hinkle Street. Sheriff’s deputies and Clovis police officers returned him to jail without incident, Waller said.

Interim jail administrator Tori Sandoval said Sunday that Soto was immediately placed in an isolation cell when he was returned to the jail.

Soto was stripping floors with two other inmates in the jail’s administrative offices when he escaped.

“It is my understanding that a detention officer was supervising the three inmates, but became distracted prior to the escape,” Waller said.

Officials have declined to say how the guard was distracted. Pyle said the issue is one reason the investigation has not been completed. He said he wants a thorough investigation and hopes it will be complete by the end of this week.