Jail report: Nearly half of inmates ineligible for bond

File photo According to data released by the jail, nearly half of inmates are not eligible for bond and jail officials say probation and parole violators account for a large percentage of the jail’s population.

Sharna Johnson

Almost half the inmates at the Curry County jail do not have the option of bonding out.

Jail records show 123 of 289 inmates being held on Jan. 31 — 43 percent — were being held with no bond.

Of those without the option of bond, the majority were state parole violators or probation violators, with another 45 serving sentences locally or awaiting transport to the state Department of Corrections. A small percentage was being held without bond based on the nature of their charges.

Inmates with federal immigration holds — there were 12 — represented just over 4 percent of the jail’s population.

The information was provided to the Clovis News Journal last week in response to a request for a one-day roster of inmates that included charges, bond amounts and the court handling the case.

Detention Administrator Keith Norwood said it is common for a large percentage of the inmates in his jail to be probation or parole violators.

Parole violators are state prisoners held by law until their violation can be evaluated but the county has to provide for their care until the courts decide if their parole will be revoked and they will return to prison, or if they will be released.

Similarly, probation violators have to see the judge to determine if they will be sentenced to incarceration.

Norwood said it’s hard to give an average for how long the process takes, but said, “Sometimes it takes a while … (If they can be adjudicated) in a timely fashion that will alleviate some of the overcrowding.”

Officials have said overcrowding at the facility has led to growing costs for housing inmates in other facilities and was cited, along with structural security concerns, as justification for a new jail.

In November, voters rejected two bond issues designed to raise $32 million for construction of a new jail and courthouse.

Norwood said the county is working with the courts to try and schedule regular weekly hearings so judges can review the cases of some of those inmates held on technical violations — such as going into an establishment that serves alcohol, failing a drug test or not being where they’re supposed to be — to see if they could be released.

However a portion of them are charged with new crimes and can’t be released until their cases get through the system, he said.

Records showed there were 1,106 individual charges booked at the jail on Jan. 31, translating to an average of four charges per inmate.

Officials believe the date reflects an average day at the facility.

Other information gleaned from the Jan. 31 jail reports: