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New Mexico: Details on county take over from MTC.

The Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 20, 2005
Santa Fe to manage its own jail

SANTA FE - The Santa Fe County Commission has decided to take over operation of its own jail this fall when a private company that now manages the facility pulls out.
Management and Training Corp. announced last month that it would end its contract early because operating the jail was not profitable. The company said it couldn't keep a medical-service provider there and lost money trying to comply with new federal mandates.
The Utah-based company is expected to end the arrangement on or before Oct. 11. Santa Fe County officials view the change as an opportunity to improve the facility.
"We don't feel the contractor has done what needs to be done," Assistant County Attorney Grace Phillips told the commission Thursday before it approved a tentative plan to take over the jail.
Gregory Parrish, director of the county corrections department, said the county could improve the jail's tarnished public image and provide better medical care than the private company. Government operation also could lead to cooperation with the state and other public bodies that could help improve medical services and keep the jail at capacity.
Because the private contractor is focused on the bottom line, Parrish said, "sometimes their operations reflect that."
The company repeatedly fails to handle detailed tasks such as booking and billing and simpler responsibilities such as answering phones, he said.
Parrish, Phillips and other county staff have met weekly for more than a year as part of a jail team that reviews the county's performance in the corrections department.
Last summer, the team advised county commissioners to take over operation of the county's juvenile detention facility. The facility has added new programs and become financially self-sufficient, according to county reports.
The 650-bed county jail that houses adult inmates has struggled after being cited for alleged civil rights violations in a 2003 federal investigation. County officials and the private jail administrators said they were working to improve medical and mental-health care to address concerns noted by the federal government.

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