A Carlsbad woman hired as the new administrator for the Curry County Adult Detention Center said she loves a challenge.
According to a recently released jail assessment, Lois Patricia Jones Bean faces one. An August assessment of the detention center identified multiple security issues that included staffing shortages, outdated policies and procedures and an “abysmal” structural facility.
Bean, who said she is familiarizing herself with the assessment, will step into the position Dec. 15, according to a release from the county.
“I love challenges and I see here in Curry County that this is a big challenge and it will give me the opportunity to (utilize) my expertise in corrections and in security to hopefully make a difference,” Bean said Tuesday.
“I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to bridge the gap between the detention center and the community.”
Bean said her first order of business will be to conduct an assessment designed by the American Correctional Association to evaluate the facility.
Afterward, she plans to update policies and procedures and give the staff updated rules and guidelines to follow.
“I’m more proactive than reactive. Most people wait until something happens. Maybe the inmate escapes or maybe the inmate gets hurt,” she said.
“I plan to do a lot of security inspections in order to determine if there may be a potential problem. I’m going to go in and put measures in place to make sure nothing happens.”
A proponent of direct supervision, where officers work among inmates instead of from a secured distance, Bean said she would like to see the men’s population at the jail converted to a direct supervision system.
“I am all for direct supervision. I talk a lot about IPC skills, interpersonal communication and being able to bridge the gap between the officers and the inmates, making sure that they can effectively communicate with one another,” she said.
The chief deputy warden of the Eddy County Detention Center for the last year where she has managed a staff of 76, Bean has 20 years experience in corrections specializing in security and human resources management, the release said.
She has also focused her education on counseling, education psychology and human resources, which she said blend well with corrections.
“To be in corrections we have to be able to function in both areas. You have to be tough when it’s time to be tough and say what you mean and mean what you say, and you have to have that soft side,” she said.
Prior to working in Eddy County, the 49-year-old said she worked in security at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, Miss.
She will replace Leslie Johnson, who retired in August. Assistant administrator Audrey Barriga has been serving as interim administrator.
County Manager Lance Pyle said last month there were more than a dozen applicants from several states and the local area.
Bean was hired at a salary of $65,500, he said.
“I feel that after a lengthy selection process we have selected a very qualified person who will be a good fit for the detention center and the community and will continue to make the needed improvements and move the Curry County detention center forward,” Pyle said in the release.
Bean said she toured the adult detention center, women’s annex and juvenile detention center Monday.
Describing the walkthroughs as “very informative,” Bean said the jail is not a lost cause.
“There’s nothing that can’t be fixed,” she said.