New Corrections Department program employs veterans

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – State Probation and Parole officers now have more time to keep an eye on offenders, thanks to a new program that employs veterans.

BioTech Screening is the distributor of urinalysis test cups used by the New Mexico Corrections Department for drug tests. The company’s owner says they approached the department about hiring veterans to monitor sample collection, and that a test run of the program this spring was a big success.

“It’s one of the missions of our company to be a very large employer of veterans across the U.S.,” Eric Fitzsimons of BioTech Screening told News 13. “We have two collectors in Albuquerque, one in Santa Fe, one in Las Cruces and one in Roswell. They’re at the main region offices, and everything is going well.”

Corrections reps say it’s a win-win-win situation. Inmates sort the test cups, practicing warehousing skills they can use after their release; veterans are gainfully employed; and Probation and Parole officers get about 2.5 hours back each day to monitor offenders.

James Hazel, a former Marine, said he was unemployed for seven months until he was hired for the program.

“Officers get more time out in the filed. They can see more clients and offenders. It frees up their time. They just send them down here to us, and we take care of them,” Hazel said.

Fitzsimons said the program here is now being looked at by correctional industries in other states, including New York.

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