The Chaves County Detention Center is temporarily closing its Visitation Building and suspending all on-site visits, starting today, in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Clay Corn, administrator of the Detention Center, said there have been no reports of the coronavirus at the Detention Center, but the center is suspending on-site visits for two weeks as a precaution to limit possible exposure to the virus by inmates, employees and visitors.
“Due to the coronavirus and the threat of transmission, we are taking all precautions for our staff and public gathering out here,” Corn said Thursday.
After two weeks, Corn said the Detention Center, in consultation with its medical staff, as well as state and local officials, will decide how to proceed from there.
People wanting to visit inmates, Corn said, will still be able to contact them through phone calls, mailing letters and off-site chats made possible through Securus Technologies, a video app that allows loved ones to connect with inmates for a fee.
The temporary suspension of in-person visits, Corn said, is one of the measures the Detention Center has decided to implement in consultation with their medical health provider.
Other safeguards put in place include testing all incoming inmates for the coronavirus and eliminating the entry of all non-essential security personnel into the Detention Center.
Corn said such action in the short term could affect inmates when it comes to access to clergy, GED education classes and substance abuse counseling. He repeated that the measures are only temporary.
Despite the inconveniences, Corn said, the inmates are understanding of the situation.
“We are just trying to protect their families as well and they appreciate that,” Corn said.
People who want to establish an account, download the app or learn more about video chats and inmate phone service can visit the Securus Technologies website at https://securustech.net/.
Individuals with questions about the suspension of on-site visits can contact the Detention Center at 575-624-6517.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.