According to a study released by the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative—a lobby group focused on lowering US jail and prison populations—New Mexico had the highest number of inmates in county jails in the nation in 2013. The results were based on federal data tracking of local jail populations and found that the state had a jail incarceration rate of 340.8 per 100,000 residents in 2013, the most recent year that has been tracked. The study seems to suggest that a large portion of these statistics are cause by pre-trial detentions coupled with trial delays. It found that pre-trial detentions tripled jail population growth nationwide since 1978. It also found that people who are incarcerated for lengthy periods before they face trial run a high risk going to prison later for more serious crimes. Despite the high incarceration rate, Bernalillo County's Metropolitan Detention Center reports that its jail population has decreased 48 percent since 2013, when reforms were instituted with the issue in mind. Those reforms included allowing people charged with crimes to enter pleas earlier than in the past and efforts to resolve hearings for suspects facing detention earlier. Georgia had the second highest jail population rate in 2013 with 317.3 per 100,000 residents.
Officials Warn of Medicaid Phishing Scam
State Attorney General Hector Balderas and Human Services Department Secretary Brent Earnest issued a joint Scam Alert to warn residents that callers posing as employees of the New Mexico Medicaid program are phishing for personal and financial information. The scammers are calling individuals several times a day and asking for their name, Social Security number and Medicaid number. According to state officials, Medicaid recipients should never provide personal information such as Social Security number or Medicaid identification numbers over the phone to unsolicited callers. If you have received an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be a representative of the Human Services Department or the New Mexico Medicaid program, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or nmag.gov/consumer-complaint-instructions.aspx. If you have already fallen victim to this or a similar scam, please visit identitytheft.gov.
Construction on CNM Campus
Central New Mexico Community College will be starting a $35 million construction project next year to build a new teaching facility at CNM's central campus. The project will be the result of a partnership between CNM and Albuquerque Public Schools, who are paying for half of the bill. The 80,000 square feet building will house several programs, including the College and Career High School program—a dual credit program with APS and CNM which allows high school students to earn college credits—the Native American Community Academy—a tuition-free public charter school serving Native students in middle and high school—and CNM's teacher education program. Jon Anderson Architecture is designing the building. Bradbury Stamm Construction will be the contractor working on the project, and construction is expected to start in January or February of 2018. CNM students will see the fruits of another renovation project this upcoming semester, though. The Smith Brasher Hall building, which saw the beginning of a renovation project last year, is slated to complete construction this month, according to school officials. The building will include 10 computer labs, a renovated auditorium, an enlarged business resource center, staff spaces and new classrooms.