The Chaves County Detention Center had an open security staffing rate of about 42% in October, reflecting what has been described as an “unprecedented” statewide shortage of detention officers and security personnel. The county jail also paid out $1.3 million in legal claims and costs from 2011 to 2022. Representatives from the New Mexico Counties group on Thursday spoke about the financial, legal and human resources challenges facing the county jail and other prison facilities in the state when they made a presentation at the Chaves County Board of Commissioners meeting at the county’s administrative center.
“All of our counties are dealing with these issues,” said commission chairman Will Cavin. “So you’re here to help us figure out how and where we can get back to some normality in our detention facilities.” Running the detention center is the largest single expense for Chaves County, accounting for $11.3 million of the $19 million dollars in general fund expenditures for the district in fiscal 2022 ended July. While the vast majority of inmates come from the City of Roswell and Roswell Police Department arrests, the county is responsible for the bulk of the bills.