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New Mexico: Things get worse for MTC.
Friday, July 11, 2003 State Audit Finds Problems at Jail
By Joseph Ditzler Of the Journal

More bad news arrived Wednesday at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center, where a surprise state inspection discovered "serious security issues," according to the state Corrections Department.

County Sheriff Greg Solano and Corrections Department spokeswoman Tia Bland declined Thursday to specify the problems found in the unannounced audit. Corrections Secretary Joe R. Williams and Solano plan to address the media today, Bland said.

She said the security issues involved did not present immediate threats to the health or safety of any inmates.

A July 4 escape from the McKinley County Detention Center prompted state interest in security there and at the Santa Fe County jail. The state contracts with both counties to house state prisoners, 144 in Santa Fe County, Bland said.

Bland would not comment on whether the state inmates would be moved out of the county facility. A private contractor, Utah-based Management & Training Corp., has operated the jail on N.M. 14 south of Santa Fe since fall 2002. MTC also manages the McKinley County facility.

"A few options are on the table, but with our inmates there we have to have an active role," Bland said Thursday by phone. "We need to figure out a way to work with Santa Fe County and have them fix what those problems are, or look at other options."

The county jail has been a persistent headache for not only the sheriff's office but the county commissioners. The U.S. Department of Justice in March released a critical report of conditions there, citing 51 changes that should be made.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which also contracted to lodge inmates at the county jail, pulled its prisoners along with release of that report.

Reports of poor medical attention, drug overdoses and sexual assaults of female inmates have plagued the facility, which until last year was run by Cornell Corrections.

Talk of the county resuming operation of the jail itself has cropped up at the County Commission and at the sheriff's office recently.

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