Saturday, April 14, 2007

Answers to a readers questions.

In the last post a reader posed some excellent questions. Here is the post and then I will answer the questions.

Anonymous said...

The view is now that the jails are money maker's there was a grab to take control...all the warning signs were there and fielded. The set-up was unavoidable.

We'd like to know who hired the standing facility director, who has so much support, and who is this person? We realize that you wish to continue to work with the facilities, so we're acknowledging this is a reach for a disclosure.

It's also not clear where the main issues lay, at both jails? Is the Administrator in charge of both jails? Do the employees have all the necessary tools to prepare the proper papers required when doing intakes or releases? Isn't there a computer program required and do both jails have that program and are the employees trained on how to use it?

One or two final questions, are there only certain designated persons who report to you when there may be a problem at the jails and why is that? Why can't anyone report who may be involved in an incident or do they? That's not clear because of claims that you received reports too late to investigate and it boils down to a he said, he said.

Someone put it best, 'by standing back and watching you may be able to assess the situation much clearer as to remainders and details.'

Wonder who the new Sheriff will be in three years, that won't want the responsibility of handling the jails?

Saturday, April 14, 2007 9:26:00 AM
There are some very good questions in this comment, looks like you spent some time thinking about this. The Corrections Director, was hired by the County Manager at the direction of at least some of the Commissioners.There was no national or local search and no one knows who else or even if anyone else was considered. Doubts exist that any background check or references were checked.Rumors persist the choice was a political one. As to jails being money maker's, in many places they are. Santa Fe's high cost of living, and the lack of people to work at the jail causing high wages to be paid to obtain workers makes our jail non-profitable for private companies and government run facilities in Santa Fe. Not to mention that the County is so far behind on even billing other government entities that we could never make a profit the way it is run now. Santa Fe County has not billed the city of Espanola for their inmates housed in our jail since October of last year. Espanola is concerned because it hurts their ability to plan and budget when Santa Fe County does this.

The Corrections Director oversees the Administrators of both the Juvenile and the Adult Facilities. Those Administrators oversee the bulk of almost 500 employee positions.

Any employee should be able to call the Sheriff's office to report a crime. Currently the Corrections Director put in place a policy that all alleged crimes are to be investigated by her staff and a report made to her, she will then decide if and when to call law enforcement. In the meantime valuable evidence, suspects and witnesses could be lost. I have issued a written order that this cease immediately however I have little faith at this time that the order will be carried out. The Resolution passed by the county allows for the practice of waiting to call law enforcement to continue.

A system to stop or at least greatly reduce bad releases was put in place by the former Corrections Director and myself which included the courts, probation and parole, jail officials and law enforcement. The new Corrections Director cut ties with those partners and has allowed employees to not follow procedures previously put into place. This has allowed inmates who should be in jail to be accidentally let free. Law enforcement is not being notified when these inmates are set free which would allow us to find them and return them to jail.

Finally the voters decide who the next Sheriff will be, New Mexico is one of only a handful of states which limit Sheriff's to two terms. I will go on to other things. It is my hope and in all likelihood the current Under-Sheriff Robert Garcia will run for Sheriff. He would be an excellent choice but it is early and he needs to make that announcement, He is as committed as I am to having safe well run correctional facilities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The other good that may be down the line, will be the successful future election of Under-Sheriff Garcia who is know for his good work.