Residents of Torrance County, NM, better be careful if they do even the least bit of crime in the next 60 days. Why? Because the CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corporation of America) has announced that it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia and lay off 200 employees if they can’t find 300 federal or state offenders to fill empty beds in the prison in the next 60 days.
According to CoreCivic spokesman Jonathan Burns:
“The city of Estancia and the surrounding community have been a great partner to CoreCivic for the last 27 years. CoreCivic is grateful for the support the community has shown through the years and we’re honored to have been a part of that community. Unfortunately, a declining detainee population in general has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to maximize utilization of our resources.”
Why should the residents of Torrance County be worried? I mean, the lack of prisoners means there must not be too much crime in the area. Well, the prison is a big time money maker for the town of Estancia and the county. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The closure will cost the town of Estancia about $700,000 annually, according to the county’s news release, and will result in about $300,000 worth of lost tax income for the county.” Not to mention, the 200 employees of the prison probably won’t take too kindly to being laid off (although they will receive help in finding new jobs).
The prion is currently home to 580 (mostly federal) inmates. To stay open, there needs to be 700 inmates. My advice to the 1,500 residents of Estancia and the 15,000 of Torrance County is to stay low for the next few months. Things could get ugly.