Inmate housing contracts amended

By Lillian Bowe
Staff writer
lbowe@pntonline.com

The Roosevelt County Commission continues to make changes to its existing inmate housing contracts with other New Mexico counties, a little more than a month after the July 2 escape of an Eddy County inmate.
Commissioners approved three amendments and added one new inmate housing contract for the Roosevelt County Detention Center at the Tuesday’s commission meeting.

The amendments tightened the term of conditions in which a county would accept inmates in light of the July 2 escape of Eddy County murder suspect Senovio Mendoza Jr., which left one county employee injured.
Commission Chair Kendell Buzard said this is the final action the commissioners will be taking in response to the escape, which ended with Mendoza being captured in Sudan, Texas, late that day.

“The contracts that were worked on by Ms. (Charlene) Webb, Ms. (Jena) Wilbanks and Mr. (Dave) Casanova are more than adequate,” Buzard said referring to the past county manager, interim county manager and RCDC administrator respectively.
Curry, Eddy and Colfax counties’ contracts were amended at the meeting and a new contract was drawn up with Quay County.
The three amendments to the contracts were the same, stating RCDC must be given with a 24-hour notice on inmates from outside counties and must be supplied with all documentation necessary for booking.

The documents required include arrest warrant and supporting affidavit, arrest report, judgment and sentence, release order, age, criminal complaint or other charging documents, all medical records and any prior and current institution history.
RCDC Administrator David Casanova said new terms of the amended contracts already came into play when Colfax County asked RCDC to house 12 inmates.

“We received information on the inmates and then we went on New Mexico courts to double check. We refused six inmates because of their charges,” Casanova said.
Other stipulations in the contracts include that the administrator has the right to refuse an inmate who has been charged with a capital felony, awaiting transport to New Mexico Department of Corrections, charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor and other serious sexual crimes, charged with a second degree murder or with history of escape.

Casanova said the Quay County contract has the same language as the other contracts.
At the last meeting, Guadalupe, Taos, Rio Arriba and Chaves counties were given contracts with the same language as the ones that were approved on Tuesday.