Inmates help Elida prepare for centennial

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Selected inmates at the Roosevelt County Detention Center have the opportunity to give back to the community by participating in the work detail program.

According to Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker, inmates are being utilized to perform work details around the county, including the city of Portales.

On Friday, prisoners were in Elida, helping to clean the town up in preparation of the upcoming 100th anniversary celebration, he said.

Hooker said he was contacted by Kay Nuckols, mayor of Elida, for assistance in working to clean up areas of the town. Two transport officers and four prisoners spent the day mowing and cleaning up in and around Elida and the town square, he said.

“I think it’s great. I hope they can come back. They did a really good job and we really appreciate it,” said Nuckols.

For Nuckols and the citizens of Elida, the prisoners coming over on work detail was a big help. Being a small town, everything is done by volunteers, which can spread everyone thin, Nuckols said.

“It was a win-win situation for everybody involved,” Hooker said.

Trustees, who need less supervision than prisoners, are also used to help around the sheriff’s office. The trustees work to mow the grass, clean and also do building maintenance, Hooker said.

Prisoners and trustees are chosen for work detail based on whether they are serving county time, whether they’re a flight risk and the charges against them, said Jesse Luera, Roosevelt County Detention Center administrator.

“They have to be a low risk inmate,” Luera said.

Many of the inmates who are qualified will volunteer for the work detail. It allows them the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and contribute to the community. It also relieves stress and cuts down on troublemaking in the facility. Inmates also seem to have a better attitude and are willing to volunteer for the work detail and work when needed, Luera said.

“It makes them feel good about themselves and at the same time, it’s good for the community,” Luera said.

Future plans are to utilize the prisoner work detail along the highways and county roads. The sheriff’s office would like to get them out and working as much as possible, as work resources will allow, Hooker said.

“Our intent is to have the prisoners out there, whenever and wherever we can,” Hooker said.