NEWS: Otero County prisoners make Thanksgiving baskets for families in need




by Jala Washington


It’s the season of giving and the Otero County Prison is teaching us all a lesson.

Its prisoners teaming up with staff are showing us all, no matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you can always put others first.

Inside of the Otero County prison walls, inmates are locked up.

But they’re packing up Thanksgiving dinners for families less fortunate.

“This year, we’re putting a coloring book in. That way when the families get them, if there’s children,we can’t be there for our families. But it gives us the opportunity to help other people and their families,” said one inmate.

All of these men have been away from their family several months, if not years. All said they were on destructive paths.

“I could imagine those faces just getting happy,” said Ben Salvidrez, an inmate.

While the inmates stay behind, prison staff picks up the load ready to deliver to families in need throughout Chaparral, New Mexico.

A total of 50 families were served.

“On behalf of the Otero County prison and the inmates, this is for the families,” said a prison staff member.

One grandma got emotional, not being able to put into words how thankful she is, saying she didn’t think they were going to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“I’m very proud of my staff and the inmates who do this for the community,” said the staff member.

The prisoners say giving back outside makes them feel grateful inside.

“I feel like I’m a part of society again,” said another inmate.

The prisoners have raised funds though various prison programs and prison staff also collected and donated items for the baskets donated to families.

About Otero County Prison Facility

Otero County Prison Facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association—
achieving 100% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory standards in
its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the Correctional
Education Association and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).