By MARK SMITH
There will be 1,072 beds available for detainees when the Nevada Southern Detention Center opens for business Oct. 1.
Oddly enough, that is precisely the number of visitors who have toured the new facility over the past few weeks.
This past Saturday alone, 580 men and women visited the center for self-guided tours and short question-and-answer sessions with Corrections Corporation of America employees.
Among the visitors was at least one employee undergoing six weeks of training who said he felt as if he had won the lottery when he learned his job application had been accepted.
Prior to Saturday more than two dozen tours for specific groups had been offered. They ranged from the Mercy Flight crews and Desert View Hospital staff to a group of staff members from the Pahrump Nugget they were impressed with the kitchen facilities to the Nye County sheriff’s staff to more than 100 members of the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce.
One group in particular cast a critical eye on the center — homeowners on property within a short distance of the grounds just above the intersection of Mesquite Avenue and Panorama Avenue.
Not all were pleased with the location or what has been put up on it, but several expressed their appreciation for the tour and the efforts made to ensure the greatest possible safety for those in the area, said public information officer LeeAnn Archuleta.
A fact sheet was made available to the visitors and included a variety of details:
* Detainees will be either awaiting trial, awaiting sentencing or waiting to be transported to a long-term facility in the federal prison system.
Archuleta said detainees are expected to be at the center an average of from 30 to 90 days.
* There are eight dormitory-style housing units and four cell-blocks with two-man cells. Each unit includes its own shower areas and two flat-screen televisions mounted high above the dinner tables. Each has access to its own recreational area.
* One dorm unit will be available for 88 women along with an eight-bed segregation unit.
* The other seven units will have 96 beds apiece. One cell block will have 136 beds, the other two will have 84. A segregation unit with 104 beds is also in the cell-block area.
* When fully staffed, 234 employees will keep an eye on the detainees and provide a variety of care for them, including meals, laundry and even medical services and a small but efficient dentistry unit.
* Roughly half the employees hired to date are from Pahrump and Nye County.
* Security measures include rows of concertina razor ribbon a type of barbed wire , 108 closed-circuit cameras and a non-lethal electrical stun fence. The latter won’t kill, but anyone who runs against it won’t want to repeat the experience, said Assistant Warden Daniel Prado.
* Armed patrols will keep an eye on the perimeter 24 hours a day.
* Detainees will have access to religious activities, a library, legal services, recreational activities and non-contact visitation. A chapel is also part of the center.
Archuleta made it clear that detainees who are cleared of all charges will not be turned loose in Pahrump. They will either be freed at the appropriate courtroom or brought back here to collect their personal effects and then taken back to court for release.
Even aside from the wages to be paid to local residents, Archuleta pointed out other significant financial effects the detention center will provide.
Considering only the first 28 employees, she said, $600,000 in annual revenues of a variety of types may be expected on an annual basis.
Those include rental payments, food, entertainment and utilities.
During a Friday tour for the PVT, Archuleta and Prado pointed out that CCA’s numerous facilities are not mirror images of one another. Each is custom-built based on local needs.
As Archuleta pointed, this is the first CCA site at which she has worked where the detainee intake is securely separated from the truck slips for other items like food. As a result, she explained, food trucks may continue their operations even when detainee are being taken in or out of the facility.