New Mexico county looks at closing juvenile detention center

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico county is considering shutting down its juvenile detention center because of a decrease in the detention population, officials said.

Santa Fe County is looking at the option as state officials say fewer teens are incarcerated before seeing a judge, KOB-TV reported Wednesday.

Santa Fe County Manager Katherine Miller plans to ask county commissioners for guidance concerning the facility, the station reported.

The county is not required to have a youth detention center, officials said

There are now 1,500 teens detained in the state, down from 10 years ago when there were more than 4,000, officials said.

There are currently six statewide detention centers, while Chaves, Taos and McKinley counties have shut down their juvenile detention facilities, officials said.

The average stay in detention facilities is less than three weeks. Last year, fewer than 150 juveniles were incarcerated in Santa Fe County, officials said.

The Santa Fe County facility faces frequent staff turnovers and vacancies, a lack of guaranteed revenue and aging facilities, the county manager said.

The facility's closure would save the county nearly $1.8 million per year, officials said.

Santa Fe officials have spoken to officials in San Juan and Bernalillo counties about the possibility of housing their juvenile detainees, officials said.