Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NMCD is paving new roads! A look at our accomplishments!

When we look back on the past year, we look at each other and think, "Wow, we feel like we've done a lot!" It wasn't until we wrote down NMCD's recent accomplishments that we said, "WOW! We really have done a lot!"

We aren't tooting our own horn, but toot, toot! No, really, we wanted to give you an inside look at our new programs, policies and changes. We are still a long way from where we envision our ideal department, but we are proud of the road we've paved over the last year and are looking ahead to building new roads and bridges with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism.

Adult Prisons Division

Positive Accomplishments

1.   Restoration to Population Program (RPP)

51 inactive gang members moved out of Level 6 into Level 3. There are currently 56 additional vacant beds at NENMDF reserved for RPP inmates.   This program will continue to grow until we have exhausted all inactive gang members from Level 6.

2.   One Security Threat Group (Los Carnales) is close to being downgraded to a Disruptive Group. These inmates are now housed with other Level 3 inmates at SNMCF.  For all intents and purposes this group is Level 3.

3.   Residential Drug and Alcohol Program (RDAP) replaced TC.

4.   Mandatory DWI programming for all DWI offenders.

5.   Wheelchairs for the World at SNMCF.

6.     Inmate file audit and early releases - Phase two, which included inmates released from 2010-2006 is nearly complete. All the files have been reviewed, about 30,000, to include those with discrepancies, are in the final review process. Our quality control auditor says her initial assessment shows a few inmates with early releases of significant time, 6 months or more, but very few inmates with discrepancies overall out of the 30,000.

7.     Overnight family visits - Effective May 1st, all overnight family visits will end. Inmates have been town halled about the changes and the media has been alerted.  We have conducted both internal and external community messaging of these changes that have resulted in positive outcomes.  We will continue to showcase our new Family Day Initiative that has replaced the conjugal type visits for positive community relations and education.

Near Future Programs in Adult Prisons

1.   Strategic Non-Violence Management Plan (NMCDs Cease Fire program)- Community Members to morally engage gang members.

2.   Inmate Self-Help Groups- Inmates taking responsibility for making themselves into good citizens- they will sponsor their own life skills, family building and re-entry events.

3.   Choir  and Drama groups- Just recently started this- looking at this as a way to change our inmate culture.

4.   Nature Rooms for Mental Health Inmates- Stressed out and the inmate goes to look at nature scenes and nature sounds.- Oregon 40% reduction in MH incidents.

5.   Green Sustainability in Prisons Program - Bringing nature and science into the prisons.

Segregation Reduction Initiative

1.       The Segregation percentage is 10.1 % today.  695 inmates out of 6876.

a.       70 of those inmates are Level 3s pending placement in Level 3 facility.

b.      Level 3 beds are at a premium. CNMCF, WNMCF, SNMCF all have construction issues preventing Level 3 inmates from being placed in those areas or remaining in those areas.  Also 56 beds at NENMDF are reserved for RPP inmates that last year would have been for regular level 3 inmates.

c.       If RPP inmates did not require a step down plan to get them used to being in population setting.  And if the construction projects were unnecessary.  These inmates would be moved out immediately and APA at CNMCF could then be moved to PNM Level 6. The net effect of just these moves reduces segregation to 7.7%. 

d.      There also has been an increase in violence at NMCD facilities. The third quarter of last year there were 80 violent incidents. This year same quarter there has been 104. This is a 30% increase. Serious violence resulting in serious injury has not increased.  Fights and assaults with minor injuries account for the increase. This can be attributed to the changes we are making. Change creates stress.

e.      RPP will continue and alternative disciplinary sanctions for non-violent offenses will continue.

f.        The expectation is the segregation percentages will decrease.  Some additional population changes can occur in July to facilitate the segregation numbers reduction.

Old Main Revitalization Initiative

The Old Main revitalization project is moving forward with the focus on continuing to educate the public about the factors and facts of the riot, in an effort to ensure it doesn't happen again. After a successful "preview" tour season in late 2013, the department took the suggestions of the New Mexico Tourism Department and visitors to create a more enhanced and interactive tour for the 2014 season.

Tours will begin in May, and run the first two Saturdays of each month through October. There are six tours each day with 20 people allowed per tour. Tickets are currently $15 each with every dollar going back into the maintenance and improvement of the facility to preserve it for history. Currently the two May tours and the first tour in June are sold out. In total, more than 550 tickets have been sold so far for the season with a profit of about $8,500.

The priority for the buildings restoration currently centers on the roof repairs. We believe we can update and fix the roof before the next tour season. We also have plans to update and restore the Catholic Chapel, a vital part of the tour and key area during the riot. Following this restoration, we will move efforts toward other key riot sites, such as Dormitory E, the Control Center, Cellblock 4 to round out our strategic list of structural needs. Once these renovations have occurred, we can then begin to enhance offender programming with proceeds received.  As a critical side note, we are using inmate labor for many of the improvements and are turning the renovations into an opportunity to help inmates learn new skills they can use when they are released.

The five-year plan is well underway and some of the key new areas we will be adding to the facility, like a gift shop, will be up and running this tour season. Visitors will be able to buy photographs and postcards depicting the inmate art that is in the facility, as well as photos of the prison. We also will be selling small souvenir type items. Again, currently any profit will be put right back into the building. We also will have inmate art and goods for sale as part of the offender hobby craft project.

We also continue to use the facility for private tours, which have already brought in more than $1,000 this month alone. We also still allow filming in the facility, and a movie using the facility this month is paying about $7,000 to have the facility for several days for their production.


       Bio tech pilot project in Santa Fe employing returning veterans to collect UAs on offenders.

       Norchem Pilot project in Albuquerque collecting UAs on offenders.

       PPO I to PPO II ladder

       Initiated a statewide taser program in PPD to provide added tools to the Officers for their safety while conducting field contacts with offenders in the community.  The first class certified 140 staff.

       In July, the statute to increase the number of high risk offenders served in the Intensive Supervision Programs was implemented.  Since this time, there has been a gradual increase in the caseloads with the ISP Officers averaging 30-35 cases.

       Cabinet Secretary Marcantel established a community partnership with the Albuquerque Downtown Action Team (DAT) designated as Project GPS (Geographical Proactive Supervision) whereby Probation/Parole Officer conduct foot patrols in the downtown area to combat crime, identify and detour offenders and to establish positive working relationships with local businesses.  Project GPS success has lead to an Offender Community Service Project specifically contributing to beautifying and improving our downtown community in Albuquerque and has branched off into other areas of the state. Multiple law enforcement agencies, community volunteers and Probation/Parole staff continue to participate in neighborhood patrols on various days and evenings to connect with the community and provide an additional layer of community safety as well as outreach of services to offenders. 

Changing way we supervise... Cell phones for every field officer, 25% of fleet SUVs, new vehicles, mobile radios to communicate with Lea, rugged lap tops to get out in field, contracted scram units to monitor DWI offenders

       Outreach to CNM for vocational opportunities at NMMRA and NMWRA.

       Plaza Maya - the Department is working with our partners at GSD to make life and safety improvements to the facility, in an effort to quickly renovate enough space to move our records management and probation and parole officers into the facility. We are hoping to move out of the Monte Vista Probation and Parole office before the next school year.

We have been in contact with parents from the Monte Vista Elementary school to keep the community as up to date as we can about the progress.

Currently the roof, HVAC, IT and electrical improvements are underway and we have a goal of occupancy by mid summer.

       Addressing high vacancy rates that were inherited/pay packages -  The New Mexico Corrections Department, like many other agencies, took a hit during the recession and a decision to freeze the hiring of corrections and probation and parole officers dealt a serious blow to the department regarding its staffing rates. At the time of my appointment (late 2012), there were some of our prisons and probation and parole offices experiencing over 40% vacancy rates.  In one extreme example, one of our Albuquerque Probation and Parole offices has experienced a 50% vacancy rate, but today is experiencing an approximate 5% vacancy rate.

The Executives approval of internal pay raises, a PPOI to PPO career ladder, along with the salary increases negotiated during the 2014 legislative session has brought our staff previously below 95% of the compa ratio up to midpoint. We are now competitive to other agencies and steadily increasing our retention rate. The department recruiting has seen a boast and in the next six weeks will graduate hopefully more than 130 new officers for both sides of the house.

We also have implemented local academies so that potential officers can stay closer to their homes and families during the training period, thus also increasing our recruiting numbers. We also now have a mentoring program to bring cadets into the prisons before they go to training to get hands on experience with a mentor.  The goal of this program is to cut down on the number of new officers deciding the job is not for them after we have already made the academy training investment in them.


            Education Television (ETV) Upgrade

The Education Department purchased equipment to update the Education Television (ETV) Programming beyond the Education classrooms.  Programming expanded to the inmates throughout SNMCF, CNMCF, and PNM facilities.  In addition to Education classes, there will also be behavioral health, cognitive, and general education programming.  The upgrade has enabled a facility-wide programming enhancement at SNMCF, PNM, and CNMCF beyond the Education programming.  More channels are available for broadcast, enabling NMCD to begin to expand core academic programming options - including the "Kahn Academy Project, Behavioral Health, Religious Services, update many of our community services videos including "MRSA"  "Diabetes" and "Infirmary Medline Instructions".  All of the existing local broadcast stations are now working, and there is no longer a memory problem.  Broadcast equipment can share programming (to an extent), and the new capacity can allow for the storage and use of about three times the material.  Has enabled to significantly expand video components for programming and the new software and computer are very effective editing tools in the video E-TV toolbox.  This program was implemented at Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility, Penitentiary of New Mexico, and Central New Mexico Correction Facility in May 2013.


The Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) at the New Mexico Corrections Department is a Modified Therapeutic Community.  This treatment community stems from the belief that living in an environment where not only staff, but also peers expect certain goals is a powerful form of therapy.  Peer support is critical to the community and your treatment.  The very nature of the community requires that a great deal of interaction and sharing of issues take place in a public manner. 

Participants are expected to share personal information about themselves and their past in front of the community to assist themselves and others in the change process.  Participants are also expected to help each other by holding each other accountable for unacceptable behavior in private and in public.  Community discussions are viewed as crucial to successful treatment.  These meetings can be positive, intense, confrontational, and challenging.  Peers may, at times, provide support and encouragement to each other and at other times intense confrontation.

In short, we believe that just as addicts get other people addicted to drugs, recovering addicts can help other addicts off drugs and into recovery.  We also believe that people do not change because they see the light, but because they feel the heat.  The professional staff works closely with inmates in the community to create a positive and caring atmosphere, whereby residents can exert peer influence among each other to make meaningful life changes and build a support program of recovery over addiction.  This program was implemented statewide at all facilities in July 2013.

       Malachi Men

                        The Malachi Men program was implemented to present a spiritual foundation for life, marriage, and parenting.  Our hope is that when released, the inmates will be better prepared to assume a greater level of responsibility as husbands and fathers, and those they will not return to prison.  The program is centered upon increasing the level of morality for offenders not a promotion of any particular Christian denomination or demeaning any competing belief system(s).  This program was implemented at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in October 2014, Guadalupe County Correctional Facility in January 2014, Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in February 2014, and Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in April 2014. 

       Dress for Success

            Every day we strive tirelessly to change the perspectives of our returning citizens and provide them with an opportunity to achieve great things.  This campaign is to assist our inmates with transitioning back into their communities for employment by providing professional attire for interviews and job fairs, which will encourage and empower them to dress for success!  This program was implemented at the New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility in September 2013, at Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in November 2013, at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility and Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in February 2014, at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in March 2014 and New Mexico Womens Recovery Academy in April 2014.


            This program prepares inmates for jobs or additional education by employing a unique entry-level, hands-on, gender-neutral approach to training.  This inmates that graduate from this program are certified Network Cabling Specialists.  This program was implemented at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in April 2014.  Additionally, more classes were added to the current C-TECH programs at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility, Central New Mexico Correctional Facility and at the Springer Correctional Center in April 2014.

       Gods Love for You and Me

                        The Gods Love for You and Me program was implemented to present a spiritual foundation for life, marriage, and parenting.  Our hope is that when released, the inmates will be better prepared to assume a greater level of responsibility as wives and daughters, and those they will not return to prison.  The program is centered upon increasing the level of morality for offenders not a promotion of any particular Christian denomination or demeaning any competing belief system(s).  This program was implemented at the New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility in December 2013. 

       Wheelchair Restoration

                        This program in collaboration with the Joni and Friends, Wheels for the World will provide vocational training for inmates in the restoration of used wheelchairs.  These restored wheelchairs will be freighted overseas to various countries around the world for Joni and Friends, International Outreach distributed to men, women and children affected by a disability.  This program will provide vocational education and training for eight (8) to ten (10) inmates.  This program was implemented at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in January 2014.

       Equine Rescue

                        This collaborative public and private initiative between the New Mexico Department of Corrections and New Mexico Livestock Board, will be accepting screened and selected honorable discharged veterans, Level 1 & 2 security inmates and pair them up with the unwanted horses rescued by the New Mexico Livestock Board.

                        Our Equine Rescue initiative consists of performance objectives centered on a natural horsemanship school of thought where horse and handler bond through communication and understanding of the horses' natural instincts.  Participants will also learn techniques of handling livestock while horseback and afoot.  This program was implemented at the Springer Correctional Center in March 2014.

       GED 2014

The General Education Development (GED) exam is used as an alternative for a high school diploma worldwide.  In January 2014, the GED examination will begin changing from its current form, a paper, and pencil-based exam, to a computer-based exam.  As a result, NMCD inmates will be impacted in the way they prepare for the exam.  Currently, the exam includes five subtests, which cover materials in the areas of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Writing.  The new 2014 computer-based exam will be reduced to four subtests; the English and Writing subtests will be combined into a Language Arts test.

NMCD has been preparing for the change to computer-based GED testing since 2012.  The Recidivism Reduction Division (RRD) is purchasing GED test preparation materials to help inmates prepare for the new exam.

In addition, laptop computers have been ordered for each institution to administer the test to inmate students.  To accommodate the computer-based exam, NMCD has obtained computer carts for storing, charging, and transporting the laptops to designated GED testing rooms on various yards at the institutions.  Tables/computer desks and special software will also be obtained to help inmates increase their computer skills and prepare them for taking a computer-based exam.  This program was implemented at Springer Correctional Center in January 2014 all NMCD facilities in March 2014.

       Heeling Hearts Dog Rescue 

                        Heeling Hearts is a therapeutic and skills training program for a minimum of approximately twenty-five (25) incarcerated women, making up one (1) full Pod at the Womens Correctional Facility.  It is the only animal welfare program that utilized a prison for rescue, training, and adoption of unadoptable dogs WHILE providing therapeutic interventions for the trainers.  The program now in its fifth year is an essential part of the facility and until now has been almost fully supported by PB&Js fundraising efforts.  This program was implemented at New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility in February 2014.

       Preparing mothers at the Womens Correctional Facility to leave jail/prison to become reunified with their children

                        Parenting Classes that respond to the parents own trauma and reorients them to be an active parent.  Coached phone calls to their children and to their teachers, doctors, care providers to prepare them to assume primary parenting responsibility upon release.  Supervised coached visits between children & their parents in PB&Js Family Trailer at the Facility.  Case Management and a weekly support group for 25% of those enrolled and their family members in the Albuquerque community.  This program was implemented at New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility in February 2014.

       Overnight visits in a homelike environment for the mothers within 18 months of release

                        Children & parents receive counseling before and after the visit.  This involves increased mileage, motel lodging, and costs of trained PB&J staff to facilitate the overnight visits.  This program was implemented at New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility in February 2014.

       NM MVD State Identification Cards

                        Discovering the benefits of the providing not only a birth certificate and social security card upon release, but now a State of New Mexico Identification Card is the goal of this program to assist our inmates for their release from incarceration.  This programs pilot began in December 2013 as a collaboration with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division and the New Mexico Corrections Department for all inmates at the Penitentiary of New Mexico. 

       Social Security Cards

            A new MOU with the Social Security Administration and the New Mexico Corrections Department was signed in April 2014, for the next five (5) years from June 2014 to June 2019 for our inmates to apply for replacement Social Security Number (SSN) cards who are U.S. citizens and who are planned to be released from both the six (6) public NMCD facilities and the one (1) private facility, New Mexico Womens Correctional Facility into the community or transferred to a half-way house (or other similar facility) within 120 days.



                        This program in collaboration with the Mesalands Community College will provide vocational education and training for inmates in the welding field.  This program will provide vocational education and training for ten (10) to twelve (12) inmates.  This program was implemented at Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in March 2014.


                        This program in collaboration with the Luna Community College will provide vocational education and training for inmates in the automotive field.  This program will provide vocational education and training for ten (10) to twelve (12) inmates.  This program was implemented at the Springer Correctional Center in April 2014.

       Culinary Arts

                        This program in collaboration with the Luna Community College will provide vocational education and training for inmates in the culinary field.  This program will provide vocational education and training for ten (10) to twelve (12) inmates.  This program was implemented at the Springer Correctional Center in March 2014.

       Culinary Program-Trinity Food Service

The Food Service Industry is always in need of persons with employable skills.  The intentions are to provide the inmates with these skills by providing experience in all aspects of the food service cycle.  The Trinity Culinary Training Program will provide instruction consisting of a lab enhanced with practical experience in the kitchen setting validated with a test of the seven (7) modules of this program.  The inmates will receive the following three (3) certificates upon completion of this sixteen (16) week program: Vocational Food Production Training, SafeStaff and ServSafe  Upon completion of this program, these inmates will use their skills in the Trinity Take-Out program, which is a customizable meal program designed to incentivize positive inmate behavior, boost staff morale and provide revenue to your facility.  Inmates who qualify with good behavior and have money in their commissary account are eligible to purchase one of any number of meal items.  A portion of the proceeds, after costs and labor, go to the inmate welfare fund, or a cause designated by our facility.


       Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

                        This program in collaboration with The National Center for Construction Education and Research will provide vocational education and training for inmates in the HVAC field.  This program will provide vocational education and training for ten (10) to twelve (12) inmates.  This program was implemented at the Springer Correctional Center in March 2014.


                        There is substantial research suggesting that yoga and mindfulness programming, in conjunction with the methods already in place by Corrections, would help NMCD in its efforts to reach its central goal of recidivism reduction.  In other words, yoga programming is evidence-based in both anecdotal and quantitative forms at helping the individuals who undertake its practice.  Yoga treats the whole person emotional, physical, and psychological aspects respectively.  Structured yoga classes, tailored to our population, have the power to help incarcerated individuals on their path to self-discovery, healing, and ultimately into living differently, conducting lives in a law-abiding and community-respecting fashion.  We understand that this proposal may raise some eyebrows at first, primarily because yoga could seem as an unconventional approach to rehabilitation, or a push toward intrapersonal and interpersonal change particularly in a correctional setting.  It is important to understand, however, that prisons around the United States and around the globe have recently been embracing yoga classes as a method for increasing inmate and public safety, and lowering rates of recidivism, in rapidly increasing numbers.  This program was implemented at Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in April 2014.

Corrections Industries

Corrections Industries (CI) - Our CI programs have really taken off. At the appointment of Secretary Marcantel, CI was a dying business that was relying on mandate sales from institutions to keep a float. Inmate programming was nearly nonexistent.

We are now proud and quite pleased to report that CI is flourishing with continued program growth on the horizon! To name a few more notable milestones:

2013-2014 Initiatives

   Old Main Renovation Project

CID worked with the Penitentiary of New Mexico to begin the renovation of the old main at PNM.  The building was cleaned and, some of the walls repainted and a new reflection garden replaced the weeds and debris in the old visiting yard.  Respecting Our Past to Create a Better Future was the theme embraced by both the staff and the visitors to revitalize the sight of the tragedy on February 2, 1980 when inmates overpowered correctional officers kicking off a deadly riot.  Thirty three inmates were killed by fellow inmates. More than 90 other inmates received serious injuries. Fourteen officers were held hostage.  The killing, burning and flooding lasted 36 hours. 

Tours are set for the first two Saturdays of every month, May through October culminating in an Inmate Craft Fair on October 11.

All of the renovation projects are supported with inmate labor and vocational programs to support the projects including roofing, construction and gardening with native plants.

   Equine Horse Rescue

CID teamed up with Recidivism Reduction to begin the Inmate Equine Rescue program at the Springer Correctional Facility.  This program is designed to have inmates who are honorably discharged veterans to work with horses that have been abused or abandoned and prepare them for adoption.

The horses will be adopted out or sold to Colorado Corrections Industries for staff horses to support their cattle program.

   Canteen Program

CID partnered with Keefe Products to start a canteen program at all of the state-owned facilities.  The pilot program which kicked off at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe will provided 10 inmate positions.  Commission proceeds from the program will be used to pay for inmate programming, reducing the burden to taxpayers.

Inmates will also participate in a vocational education component providing them with warehouse, inventory and entrepreneur programs.

   Horticulture Program

CID has also installed two greenhouses at the farm at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas and in the spring will begin growing vegetables and fruits to work with the private food provider to offset some of the costs.    

Inmates will also participate in a vocational education component providing them with horticulture and sustainability programs.

   Landscape Program

A new partnership with the Facilities Management Division of the General Services Department, the Office of the State Engineer and the city of Albuquerque has provided 20 inmate positions enabling inmates to experience hands on training in landscaping while keeping state buildings and grounds maintained.

Inmates will also participate in a vocational education component providing them training and practice to grow native plants and other horticulture activities.

   Solar Power

With a private partner, CID is moving forward with a solar panel program at Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Las Cruces.  The photovoltaic program will provide a 2.0 megawatt system which is designed to reduce the price of electricity to the facility.

Inmates will participate in a Solar Power Certificate Program with New Mexico State University.          

   Green Sustainability in Prisons Program

CI has hired a Sustainability Coordinator who has ordered the equipment for a Biodiesel Fuel Program.  CI will pick up the cooking grease at each of the facilities at a reduced price and convert it into diesel fuel for NMCD trucks and equipment.  The glycerol by products will be converted into body soap for use at the facilities at no cost - reducing taxpayer funded supplies.

High-risk inmates will participate in a Biofuel Certificate Program with Santa Fe Community College.

   Roots for Success Program

CI is partnering with Adult Prison Division and Recidivism Reduction to provide training for both staff and inmates on this unique program which has yielded successful results in both the Washington State and Oregon Corrections Industries.  First training is scheduled for the end of May.  The Fundamentals modules include:

Environmental Literacy






Health, Food and Agriculture

Community Organizing and Literature

Application & Practice