NEWS: Veterans at the Otero County Prison still finding ways to serve their community

by Marisa Saenz


Inmates of the Otero County Prison are being given the opportunity to serve in the community.

For some inmates, this is their second chance at that.

“Initially, I joined, it was kind of a family tradition,” Allan Quick, an Army veteran, said.

Quick now spends his time building furniture for Habitat for Humanity.

“I’ve been in community service since I was about 16,” Quick said.

“It’s therapy in itself, sitting here, doing this,” Fred Whitaker, a U.S. Navy veteran, said.

Whitaker is still giving back to the community today, but now he does so through crochet.

“Somebody is getting some benefit out of what we’re doing,” Whitaker said.

From the battlefield to learning skills in prison, veteran inmates say they’re still serving their country.

“(I joined) to give me something to improve my life,” U.S. Navy veteran Michael Davis said. “The only way to better yourself is through education.”

“It helps foster a good work ethic for some,” Air Force veteran John Smith said.

Programs to teach inmates these skills are funded by New Mexico.

“Even though they don’t know who I am, maybe they’ll still have that cabinet in their house and think, ‘Hey, somebody built that for me,” Smith said.

The warden at the Otero County Prison said 97% of the inmates return successfully to the community and programs like this one are made to ensure they don’t go back to prison.

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).