Juvenile crimes on rise in Curry County

By Jack King

Record numbers of prisoners has been a problem for Curry County’s adult detention center for some time. County commissioners learned Tuesday that numbers are also up in the county’s juvenile detention center.
The juvenile detention center’s capacity is 16, but Adult Detention Center Administrator Don Burdine said the facility held 20 juveniles on Monday, with 62 booked and 58 released.
Juvenile Detention Center Administrator Rose Workheiser said the center was back down to 16 Tuesday, because some of the juvenile suspects had made court appearances and been released. But, she added, the numbers of juveniles going through the center are the most she has seen in some time.
“Crime is up. It’s up for adults; it’s up for juveniles. We have juveniles being arrested for the same crimes as the adults,” she said.
Among the charges against some of the juvenile inmates are drug offenses, aggravated assault, battery on a household member, intimidation of a witness and sexual abuse, Workheiser said.
“Some (of the juvenile inmates) have parents who are not there. Some have parents in the adult detention center. With some there’s a lack of supervision, but there are a lot of parents who really care and are trying. There are a lot of drugs out there and it’s easy for kids to get drugs. When you can go to school and get drugs, something’s wrong,” she said.
The news came at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Curry County Commission.
In other business, the commission approved applying for $18,750 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Southwest border Prosecution Initiative, which would help pay a portion of the expenses at the Adult Detention Center. County Special Projects Officer Twila Rutter-Wooley said the money is awarded for prisoners housed in the county detention center on low-level federal charges.
The commission approved tax rates for 2003, with property tax bills expected to go out Nov. 1. County Assessor Randy Williams said property taxes will go up this year, but by less than a mil. For example, in Clovis city limits taxes will go from 25.5 to 25.9 mils; in Texico city limits taxes will go from 22.7 to 22.9 mils; and in Melrose city limits they will go from 23.3 mils to 23.9 mils. A mil equals $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value, Williams said.
Commissioner Kathryn Tate said members of a State Highway 467 overpass committee are still looking for funds to pay for the project. Committee members will meet with state Department of Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faughts on Oct. 15, she said.