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Jail tries to reduce repeat offenders

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By The Staff

The San Miguel County jail has become a revolving door with a recidivism rate of more than 80 percent — in other words, most inmates are returning.

Lack of residential, in-patient treatment services has placed challenges to the jail’s ability to properly house and serve offenders that have substance abuse and mental health issues, according to a county press release.

In response to these challenges facing communities, the County Commission and the jail’s citizens advisory committee are unveiling their proposed community-based Adult Reintegration Center to provide effective treatment services needed to facilitate community reintegration. The partnership established a vision based on the jail’s five-year strategic plan that follows a detention reformation approach focusing on carrying out alternatives to incarceration and linkage to community-based supportive services, the press release states.

San Miguel County will seek capital outlay appropriations from the state during next year’s session of the state Legislature, which begins Jan. 20. These funds would subsequently be used to construct a 15-bed adult reintegration center next to the jail. The center will include three beds for detox, a dining area, a day room, and classrooms for computers and other programs.

The San Miguel County jail has been aggressively implementing its five-year strategic plan, which is in effect from 2005 to 2010, the press release states. As part of the facility master improvement plan, the jail has completed the first two phases of the project to harden the facility. Goals such as improving conditions of confinement are being addressed.

“Having seen all the improvements made in the recent years at the detention center, the citizens advisory committee is excited about the real possibility of establishing an adult reintegration center to address the substance abuse problem our community has,” Steve Flores, a longtime member of the citizens advisory committee, said.

As a result of implementing the strategic plan, the jail has been working diligently to enhance its programs and services by creating partnerships with community-based services, including the Rio Grande Treatment Center, SR Solutions, Adolescent and Family Services, Ayudantes, New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute Community-Based Services and Somos Familia, according to the press release.