NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Dozens of inmates in the Bernalillo County’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) are now being held in New Mexico’s state prison system. New Mexico’s Corrections Department says it is housing at least 28 MDC inmates at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, sometimes referred to as PNM, in Santa Fe.

According to officials with the Department of Corrections and MDC, the move is aimed at helping with overcrowding concerns at the Bernalillo County jail. The change comes after state officials detailed in a September news conference how police and deputies had been facing hours-long wait times to book new arrests at the MDC.

State officials have attributed the rise in prison crowds to the surge of new arrests around Albuquerque over the last month, as well as the higher number of suspects being held behind bars while they await trial. Corrections Department Cabinet Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero spoke of her department’s effort to help during a subsequent October 10 news conference.

“By taking on this population, we’re alleviating some stress, taking away people that are very staff-intensive for them so that we can get officers back out onto the street,” said Tafoya Lucero.

The “staff-intensive” inmates referred to require several guards because the Corrections Department says they are considered dangerous or violent. The Corrections Department says it will help MDC for “as long as needed.”