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Resource Re-entry Center: Thousands of Released Inmates to Benefit from Re-entry Support Every Year

05/22/2018

On May 22, 2018, Bernalillo County leaders officially opened the county’s new Resource Reentry Center [RRC], a first stop for individuals released from the Metropolitan Detention Center as they reintegrate into the community. The RRC will help former offenders navigate the transition from jail to society by offering access to the services and support they may need to stabilize, stay healthy, regain self-sufficiency, and break the cycle of recidivism.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, remarked that the new center builds on the county’s commitment to using evidence-based strategies to promote public safety.

“We know that people living with mental illness and substance use disorders need immediate help when they leave our jail. Without appropriate healthcare and support, they often return to the same circumstances that led to their arrests and end up back in the criminal justice system. Linking them to medical, behavioral health, case management, and community services can help break the cycle of recidivism, lead to long-term stability, and make our community safer.”

The Resource Re-entry Center along with their transition planners and navigators, provided by UNM Hospital, will connect people to temporary shelter, housing, food, medication management, assistance finding employment, and drug rehabilitation services. The UNMH transition planners and navigators will start working with the inmates while they’re still at MDC and continue their work at the RRC. Based on an analysis of MDC, it’s expected that approximately 21,000 individuals will be eligible to utilize the center each year.

Other programs, designed to help former inmates remain stable after they’ve been released include the Methadone Maintenance Program, Narcan Training and Distribution, and the new on-site Pharmacist who can provide inmates with 14 days’ worth of their prescription upon release.

“Too often, individuals discharge from jail are immediately confronted with homelessness, addiction, untreated mental illness and other challenges that frequently result in additional incarcerations. However, being discharged from jail, can operate as an effective front door for thousands who are in need of behavioral health services,” said Bernalillo County Commission Chair Steven Michael Quezada.

As is the case with all the Behavioral Health Initiative programs, this program and center was developed based on national, evidence-based practices, to impact the behavioral health care continuum, public safety, homelessness, the judicial system, and emergency rooms.

The RRC, located in downtown Albuquerque, will start receiving clients in June (2018) and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Renovations for the center cost about $800,000, the Behavioral Health tax will fund the operational budget of $1 million each year.

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