Prison vital to NM community to stay open for 1 more month
September 23, 2017 10:26 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Saturday was the day the city of Estancia, and Torrance County as a whole, had been dreading for two months. The gates to this area’s largest employer would close, and the predicted economic hit would be massive.
Instead, the community has another month to figure out how it will make up for the loss of jobs and revenue.
CoreCivic, a company that owns and manages private prisons, had been planning to close down the Torrance County Detention Center, a facility it owns and one that employs hundreds.
But as a result of a contractual obligation to provide a 90-day notice of closure, county officials and residents have one more month than they initially expected.
So, for the next 30 days, the detention center is staying open.
“The 30-day grace period can be and is being perceived by the county, certainly as a boom to give us more time,” said Torrance County Commissioner Javier Sanchez.
After giving county officials a 60-day notice of closure that many days ago, Sanchez said officials with CoreCivic have agreed to stay open for one more month.
That means the city of Estancia and Torrance County have four more weeks to prepare for the looming devastation that will come with the facility’s closure.
“These costs are tremendous, and in a stressed area such as this, it really is a crisis. Not to mention the trickle effect to the local economy,” Sanchez said.
For Estancia, Sanchez said, 60 percent of revenue would be lost. For the county, the price is upwards of $2 million in order to transport and house inmates elsewhere.
Then, he said, there are the 200 jobs that would be lost. Sanchez said the school district has already lost dozens of students.
It’s a hardship is unlike any other, according to Sanchez.
“The town of Estancia, in (the) long term, I think local government is seriously affected,” he said. “The families that are going to lose their jobs are affected. The community as a whole is affected.”
While local leaders search for some sort of miracle in the next month, Sanchez said the community will push on.
“There's always an economic downturn that causes us to boom and bust. But this community will be here forever, as long as there are clouds in the sky and dirt on the ground,” he said.
Sanchez added that CoreCivic could have paid the county out for those 30 days. But he said he believes the company is actively working to market the facility.
Created: September 23, 2017 10:26 PM
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