ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission voted Thursday night approving the development and funding for a center helping inmates after their release from jail.
It’s called the MDC Transition Planning and Re-entry Resource Center. If the center gets final approval from the Bernalillo County Commission, who eventually have the final say, it will be located on the bottom floor of the Public Safety Center on Roma Avenue. It’s designed to be a stepping stone between their last day in jail and their first day of life on the outside.
Everyday, dozens of inmates are released from the Metropolitan Detention Center. Many will then face homelessness, addiction or untreated mental illness.
Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins said the center will be inviting and warm, nothing like the jail, to hopefully welcome inmates in seeking help and the resources they need to move forward.
Officials say the continuity of care provided to these individuals is fragmented, which can lead to them ending up back behind bars. That’s where the Re-entry Resource Center comes in with two primary components.
First, to provide care while in MDC by identifying those at a high risk for re-offending, create a transition plan and then coordinate with case managers at RRC. Those inmates will be taken into the RRC and be given the opportunity for temporary shelter, brief interventions, connecting with family or community providers and access to service information.
The cost of this program will be a little more than $1 million a year to run. But, officials say with improved health outcomes, less reliance on emergency, emergency room-like care and first responders, the program should end up paying for itself.
“There isn’t a single item that is a fix, it’s really a series of things that impact individuals that will put them on a path to being okay,” said County Commissioner Art De La Cruz.
And that’s why the Government Commission said they’re on board, hoping to stop this cycle.