Members of Curry County citizens’ committees studying jail and courthouse issues saw a presentation Thursday for a stop-gap measure to address overpopulation at the jail.
The presentation was given by Proteus, an Atlanta company that manufactures temporary detention facilities, while entities try to fund and build permanent facilities.
If approved by Curry County commissioners, it could be used for five to 10 years.
The structure proposed is a 30-foot canvas building with a rounded roof that would be surrounded by chain fencing and razor wire. One proposal would be to place the building in a closed section of Ninth Street between Main and Mitchell streets.
Designed to accommodate 48 inmates, officials said the structure would be leased for about $600,000 a year.
The county houses between 30 to 60 inmates a day in Texas, at a cost of $36 to $42 per inmate, according to Curry County Manager Lance Pyle.
Proponents say the proposed facility would reduce costs for housing inmates. But Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield opposes the plan.
“The tent would be unacceptable in the downtown area (and) the figures that they were talking about, in the long run it wasn’t going to be any cheaper,” she said.
“We know that the county has a problem and the city is supportive of helping any way that they can. I realize they were voted down in November, but there’s a plan that will work. They have some bonds that they can refinance and they can look at some different options but we do not support this project going downtown.”
Capt. Ken Flowers, jail administrator for the Talladega (Ala.) County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a recommendation letter that the temporary detention facility worked well for them.
“The completed structural solution enabled the closing of several small metro jails and facilitated Talladega County’s ability to provide regional services during a planned permanent expansion,” Flowers wrote. “Not only was the semi-permanent solution economical, it proved to be a fast resolution to our growing inmate population.”
The citizens committees are tasked with finding solutions for space and security issues at the courthouse and jail after voters in November rejected two bonds for $33 million aimed at building a new courthouse and jail on the way to an estimated $90 million judicial complex in downtown Clovis.
They have a deadline of April 19 to submit recommendations to the Curry County Commission.