New Mexico Prison Closure to Impact 300 Workers

MILAN, N.M. — The upcoming closure of the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan is set to relocate approximately 1,200 inmates to other facilities and leave some 300 employees without work. The facility, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) of Nashville, Tenn., is scheduled to close in late September.

The Cibola County Correctional Center houses minimum-security federal male inmates and has been owned and operated by CCA since 1998. However, the facility leadership was notified in early August that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will not renew the company’s contract.

In a statement to local television outlet KOB4, Steve Owen, managing director of communications for CCA, said, “Because we have just learned of the decision, we are still working through the timing and logistics of the transition process with the BOP. Our top priority now is ensuring that any staff member who wants to continue his or her career with our company has the opportunity to do so. For employees unable to transfer, our team is coordinating efforts to help them find jobs in the local area.”

Senators George Munoz, (D-4-Cibola, McKinley and San Juan) and Clemente Sanchez (D-30-Cibola, Socorro, McKinley and Valencia) have also expressed concern for the facility’s soon-to-be-unemployed workforce.

“Senator Sanchez and I are exploring every option to help find employment for the 300 people who will be impacted by the sudden announcement that the Milan facility will be closed,” Sen. Munoz told local public media outlet KRWG on Aug. 3.

“Our first priority is to help those impacted with finding a job,” Sen. Sanchez told KRWG. “In addition to finding vacancies at other state facilities, Senator Munoz and I will be meeting with CCA and Secretary [Gregg] Marcantel to determine if state prisoners can be held at the Milan facility to save those jobs.”

Senators Munoz and Sanchez have also announced plans to hold a town hall meeting following these meetings, as well as plans to include the Department of Workforce Solutions.

As New Mexico is also at approximately 97 percent capacity across its state-run correctional facilities, according to a recent report by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission, the facility could possibly be repurposed to house state inmates, budget allowing.