This blog is maintained by the New Mexico Corrections Department Public Affairs Director. The purpose of this blog is to showcase what is happening at NMCD in both the Adult Prisons Division and Probation and Parole.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Officer Purto: A View From the Line
OFFICER PURTO: A VIEW FROM THE LINE
NEW MEXICO DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS
2016 Legislative Session has arrived. This is one in a series of posts from the
staff of the New Mexico Corrections Department. We intend to send a daily
update to all our legislators with key points, facts, figures, personal stories
describing life here at NMCD.
Aaron Purto is a 25 year-old Corrections Officer. With sixteen months on the
job, he is stationed at the “Level 6” facility at PNM (Penitentiary of New
Mexico) in Santa Fe, which was recently renamed as the “Predatory Management”
unit. It houses the most violent offenders.
of the challenges of my job are dealing with daily threats from inmates…threatening
me, threatening my family…anyone close to me. There are about 96 inmates per
unit…you’re just one CO (Correctional Officer). Your partner gets pulled to
another post just because we’re short. Having to deal with so many inmates by
yourself is a challenge.”
when asked if he would still be working for NMCD in three years, candidly tells
the truth. His answer is no. “I do plan on moving on in my career from this
place if nothing changes. I’m under the same oath as Peace Officers from other
states. My job is just as dangerous. I do the same thing as those in other
correctional departments out of state who make twice what we make.”
him what he would say to the legislative body if he got the chance. “I’d like
to feel more appreciated as an officer and public servant by (receiving) a pay
increase. I don’t see any sense in offering my services here when I can go
elsewhere and offer those same services.”
reveals that on Christmas Eve, the facility was understaffed to the point where
the Corrections Emergency Response Team had to be deployed. He wonders “what
the public would think if they knew.” Without the deployment of emergency
staff, he states that “there would have been nobody here to supervise some of
the most dangerous criminals in the entire nation. That’s an outrage.” PNM
currently has an officers’ vacancy rate of 22%. View the video below.