Detention Center Frequently Asked Question's



1. What are the hours?

The facility operates 24/7. However, administrative and visiting services are limited to normal business hours. We do allow visiting on weekends. We are closed for all federal holidays. If you call at a time when the administrative office is closed, your call will be forwarded to the Control One Center.


2. How does visiting work?

Visiting is available Tuesday through Saturday and Observed Holidays. Visits are scheduled by appointment only. Call (575) 588-7350 Monday thru Friday between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm (Excluding Holidays) and speak with Charlotte Salazar or in her absence Jessica Madrid. Visits may be cancelled without prior notice.

Visitng Hours:

  • 8:45 – 9:15
  • 9:30 – 10:00
  • 10:15 – 10:45
  • 11:00 – 11:30
  • 1:00 – 1:30
  • 1:45 – 2:15
  • 2:30 – 3:00
  • 3:15 - 3:45

Each inmate is permitted two visits per day, but visits will not be scheduled back to back.


3. How do phone calls work?

Inmates can call out collect. We do not accept incoming phone calls for inmates, nor do we deliver messages or FAXes. Phone calls are recorded and monitored.   Phone calls are limited to 15 minutes, but if no one else is waiting to use the phone, the inmate can call up again and continue the conversation. Friends and family can set up pre-paid phone accounts by contacting our vendor, Securus at 1-800-844-6591 or online at We will NOT deliver the message to the inmate that you now have a pre-paid account.


4. How does mail work?

Inmates can receive correspondence through the mail – no drop-off mail. Envelopes must be clean – no stickers, tape, glitter, glue, smudges, etc. Inmates can send out mail. All mail is subject to being read and checked for contraband.

Address the envelope with the inmate's full name, inmate #, or date of birth then send to:

P.O. Box 336

Tierra Amarilla, NM 87575


5. What can I send or bring to an inmate?

We do not accept food, books, writing materials or stamps for inmates. We have books here for recreational reading. If the inmate has money in his account, he can buy writing materials, snacks or other personal items from Commissary. You can send in a money order or cashier’s check for the inmate. We would accept eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, and prescriptions (current, properly labeled and verifiable).

The first 14 calendar days of incarceration we will accept:

Men:                                                                                                     Women:

3 pair white boxers (original package)                                    3 pair white boxers (original package)

6 pair white socks (original package)                                      6 pair white socks (original package)

                                                                                         3 pair white womens underwear (original package)

                                                                                         3 white bras (no underwire)


All garments must be in original unopened packaging. Any extra garments will be issued out to indigent inmates. Example: 6 pair of socks will be given to the inmate intended, but if the package contains 10 pairs of socks 4 of those pair will be given to an indigent inmate.   We will not open the package and return 4 pair of socks. If you do not want to donate to indigent inmates purchase the items in the amounts approved.


6. What if I have medical concerns regarding an inmate?

We will not release medical information about adult inmates. Inmates can request medical attention. If you have concerns about the inmate, you may be able to talk to the Detention Administrator, Detention Assistant Administrator, Case Manager, or Shift Supervisor, to GIVE information, but to GET information, you should contact the inmate in question.


7. How can I get timely, same-day information to an inmate, such as participation in court appearances?

You can appear in court and observe the proceedings yourself. We do not notify people of the outcome of court appearances. You will have to depend on communication (phone or letter) from the inmate or his attorney to get that information, or contact the inmate's attorney.


8. How does the bail system work?

The bail or bond amount is set by the court. The prisoner, or someone working on his behalf, can post the amount at court (during business hours) or at the Sheriff’s Department in Espanola or Tierra Amarilla (after business hours). The prisoner can also contact a bondsman who will post the bond (for a fee). Names of bondsmen are in the phone book, and are also posted in the pods. There is also a list posted near the after-hours door. For some crimes no bond is set until the person has his first appearance in court. Approval of all surety bonds must be done by the appropriate Judge.


9. What is the system for picking up someone who has been released?

Inmates are released through the door in the Administration Area of the jail. If the inmate knows when s/he will be released, s/he can call someone to come pick him up, but will have to do this before s/he leaves his/her pod. The booking officer will also allow the inmate to call his/her family at release in the booking area.


10. How are complaints about the detention facility handled?

If you have a complaint about a staff member, it is best to try to resolve the problem with that staff member, or his or her immediate supervisor. If that doesn’t work, contact the detention facility by phone, in writing, or in person, and you will be directed to the appropriate person to deal with the issue. If you have a question about facility conditions, send those to the Facility Administrator. If you have information about a staff member who has been particularly helpful to you, please send the information to the Facility Administrator.


11. What kind of inmates do we have at the facility?

Rio Arriba County Detention Center is an adult detention facility that can hold up to 112 male and 28 female inmates over the age of 18. Some inmates are pre-trial – waiting for their trial to occur. Some inmates have been found guilty and are waiting to be sentenced. Some inmates have been sentenced and are serving county jail time, or are waiting for transport to the prison. Besides holding prisoners for the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department and New Mexico State Police, we also hold prisoners for the US Marshals Service, local Tribal Governments, Espanola Police Department, Probation and Parole, and other local agencies.


12. What programs does Rio Arriba County have for inmates?

Organized programs for Rio Arriba County are very minimal. We have religious volunteers, and representatives from Rio Arriba County Health and Human Services Department. We have an adult education program. RACDC inmates can work in the laundry or kitchen. County inmates can work in some custodial jobs (cleaning, floors, etc) and in the library.


13. What about offender registration?

Sex and violent offenders register at the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department.


14. Is there a county work program?

We do not have a program where inmates are released during the day to work, and then come back to sleep at the jail. However, certain sentenced inmates do community beautification projects while being supervised by Detention Staff.


15. Is there a support group for families of inmates?

No. We are more oriented to support for victims and families. For example, we attempt to notify victims when their assaulters or stalkers are about to be released.


16. What happens when an inmate has disciplinary problems in custody?

If the inmate commits a crime while in custody, that is investigated by law enforcement either the NM State Police or the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department and we try to file charges with the District Attorney’s office when appropriate. If the behavior is a violation of facility rules, the inmate can lose privileges such as visiting and commissary, and may be segregated from other inmates. If the inmate is found guilty, the person’s disciplinary record (or lack of it) is shared with the courts for purpose of sentencing.


17. What is "classification"?

Classification is the system of reviewing the inmate’s personal history, crimes, and behavior then giving him a housing assignment where he is most likely to do well during his time of incarceration.


18. How do inmate accounts work?

If a person has money when arrested, or if someone sends in money, it is put on his account. If the person makes a purchase from Commissary, the amount is deducted. We charge medical co-pay fees for visits to the doctor/dentist/physician’s assistant and to the nurses. No inmate is denied medical care because of lack of ability to pay.

When released if there is a positive balance, the inmate will get a check for that amount.


19. When is court?

Inmates having their first appearances in court generally appear around mid-afternoon. The schedule varies depending on the availability of the judge. The inmate appears via our video court system. Family members can attend at the courthouse. Attorneys usually attend at the courthouse but can attend the arraignment with their client at the detention facility. For actual trials and district court appearances, the schedule varies depending on the judge assigned, and the type of appearance. Trials are conducted "in person", not via video.


20. What is a 10 day rule?

A person arrested for a felony that is unable to post bond, the State has only ten days from the date of arraignment at magistrate court to submit your case for a Preliminary Hearing or a Grand Jury proceeding. If the State fails to do so, they may request an extension of time to the Magistrate Court to complete this process. If a formal indictment from the Grand Jury, preliminary hearing with probably cause found or an extension granted after 10 days is completed, the Magistrate Court will issue a release order.


21. Can an inmate release personal property or money to me?

Yes. While the inmate is incarcerated they may submit a property/money release form to the detention officer on duty. The form will be presented to Administrator or designee and the items will be released to the individual identified in the form.

If the inmate in no longer in custody in Rio Arriba County Detention Center but remains incarcerated at another facility they may release their personal property or money that is still at the facility to any person of their choosing. A letter from the inmate stating exactly what to release and to who will be needed, this letter must possess the inmates name, date of birth, social security number and signature. This letter must be presented to the Administrator or Assistant Administrator during normal working hours. (M-F 8:00 – 5:00) No property or money will be released after normal working hours.


22. How can I apply?

Applicants may learn of recruitments by checking our web site at  We also advertise in the classified section of the Rio Grande Sun, through workforce solutions, and on bulletin boards throughout the County Buildings. If you have any questions, please contact the Rio Arriba County Detention Center.