DETENTION CENTER MODIFIES VISITATION RULES

DETENTION CENTER MODIFIES VISITATION RULES

Effective Sept. 1, 2004, the Doña Ana County Detention Center’s visitation rules will be changed to limit the number of people allowed into the facility during visitation hours.

The new regulation will allow any three registered visitors at a time to enter the facility and conduct an inmate visit during visitation hours. Only registered visitors will be allowed entrance to the facility. People who are not registered as visitors will not be allowed to remain on the grounds of the facility. Groups of more than three registered visitors will not be allowed into the visitation areas.

Major Chris Barela said the change combats a growing trend by which visitors bring large groups of people – particularly children – into the visitation lobbies and leave them unsupervised while they conduct visits with inmates.

The change in policy, Barela said, is designed to keep the visit process more orderly and to allow staff at the Detention Center to maintain proper security levels during visitation hours.

“We had to get out of the baby-sitting business,” Barela said. “A couple of weeks ago, we identified a toddler in the visitation lobby who had been left aloe for an extended period of time and had soiled his pants. An officer responded to the crying child, and it took us a few minutes to find the responsible parent. We can’t have that happening. It’s not good for the child, and it distracts our officers from their work. We’re hopeful that enforcement of the new visitation rule will help us control visits more comprehensively.”

Inmates, attorneys and family members are provided copies of visitation rules shortly after a person is booked into the facility. The policy change will be posted in advance of its implementation, with strict enforcement beginning Sept. 1.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.