ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's been a problem for years.
There simply isn't enough room at Bernalillo County's Metropolitan Detention Center. Although it's only supposed to house about 2,200 inmates, on a typical night there are hundreds more than that incarcerated there. MDC Chief Ramon Rustin says during the summer months when crime picks up, nearly 3,000 are housed at county's jail.
This is a problem with a cost and when it comes to inmates deemed non-violent or low risk, Bernalillo County commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins says there's a cheaper and better solution.
"We're paying $67 a day to house them when we feel there are cost effective more appropriate ways for them to be treated," Stebbins said. "If we have individuals who are low risk but who can be accommodated out in the community through very intensive supervision, very intensive monitoring, then that may be a better way of dealing with these individuals."
That monitoring would be conducted through something already in place, the Community Custody Program or CCP. Under that program inmates are monitored on a GPS ankle monitor and required to submit to drug and alcohol testing but are allowed to live outside of MDC.
Bernalillo County officials are looking to work with the district court to expand CCP. Under a proposal in front of the Bernalillo County Commission Tuesday, funding for GPS monitoring would more than double. That would pay for 500 ankle monitors for 500 inmates, up significantly from the nearly 200 currently budgeted for.
Rustin says MDC has identified about 200-300 low risk jail inmates who could be turned over to CCP in late December or early January if judges let them.
GPS monitors aren't the only solution proposed for MDC's overcrowding problem. Rustin is pushing for approximately $7 million worth of temporary housing to be constructed adjacent to MDC. That housing would be for other lower risk inmates that MDC puts to work in the community.
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