Transition cen­ter pro­posed for ex-in­mates

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - Dan McKay Dan McKay: dm­ckay@abqjour­

In­mates dis­charged from the Ber­nalillo County jail may find a friendly land­ing spot soon.

The County Com­mis­sion this week will con­sider au­tho­riz­ing $300,000 in ren­o­va­tions and about $1 mil­lion a year to op­er­ate a Transition Plan­ning and Re-En­try Re­source Cen­ter in Down­town Al­bu­querque.

The goal is to en­sure that peo­ple strug­gling with ad­dic­tion or men­tal ill­ness — and per­haps with­out a home to go to — aren’t re­leased into the com­mu­nity with­out any help.

Transition plan­ners would work out of the county jail on the West Side, but there would also be staff at a Re-En­try Re­source Cen­ter at 401 Roma NW, where in­mates could go upon dis­charge from the jail.

Staff at the cen­ter would help for­mer in­mates find com­mu­nity ser­vices to make the transition eas­ier.

The fund­ing would come from the new be­hav­ioral-health tax adopted by county com­mis­sion­ers in 2015.

County Com­mis­sion chair

Ber­nalillo County com­mis­sion­ers will pick a new chair­per­son this week.

The pre­vi­ous chair­man, Demo­crat Art De La Cruz, left the com­mis­sion at the end of the year, and Tues­day’s meet­ing will be the first for his suc­ces­sor, Steven Michael Quezada, also a Demo­crat.

The com­mis­sion usu­ally picks some­one from the ma­jor­ity party — Democrats in this case — and some­one who’s served awhile al­ready to pre­side over the meet­ings.

If that trend holds, the next chair­per­son will be ei­ther Mag­gie Hart Steb­bins or Deb­bie O’Mal­ley.

The other two mem­bers of the County Com­mis­sion are Repub­li­cans Wayne Johnson and Lon­nie Tal­bert.

New plan for Can­de­laria Farm

The op­er­a­tion of Can­de­laria Farm — a pop­u­lar spot for sand­hill cranes and Canada geese — is get­ting some City Coun­cil at­ten­tion.

With­out op­po­si­tion, coun­cilors adopted a res­o­lu­tion last week call­ing for the de­vel­op­ment of a new re­source man­age­ment plan for the farm, which lies just north of the Rio Grande Na­ture Cen­ter.

The 97-acre patch of open space is now used, in part, to grow crops for dairy cows, but the pub­lic can watch the birds there from the view­ing area at the na­ture cen­ter.

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Isaac Ben­ton, who spon­sored the bill, said fed­eral funds helped the city ac­quire the prop­erty, but the city never fol­lowed up to de­velop a proper plan govern­ing how the land must be used, he said.

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