On Wednesday morning, Gaines County introduced its new jail to the community. It was a long awaited and much needed update.
"We were having some age issues, but also we had gotten out of standard," Gaines County judge Tom Keyes admitted.
Aside from being outdated, the old jail just couldn't provide the square footage Gaines county needed, and it was costing them.
"We outgrew the place. It was a 32 bed facility and we were running around 50 prisoners, so we were having to house prisoners in other counties, and having to pay for that at the cost of anywhere from three to four hundred thousand dollars a year," continued Keyes.
And in such a crowded jail, it was difficult for jailers to keep inmates in line.
"We had trouble isolating or segregating prisoners that need to be segregated either because they're dangerous or because of health issues," Keyes went on to tell us.
"The other facility, we did not have the space. All we had was one detox cell and one holding cell, and that's where we normally put them to separate them. with this facility, at least now we have separation cells here," added Daniel Alaniz, a jailer and dispatcher for the county jail.
But with all upgrades come new challenges. Many of the jailers in Gaines County have never worked in a big jail, and there will definitely be a learning curve.
"Coming to this facility is going to be more of a challenge. I've never worked a big facility before, so this is a whole new game for me," Alaniz told NewsWest 9.
The jailers say that once they get the hang of the new building and technology, working at the jail is going to be so much easier.