Created: February 24, 2020 06:55 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Omar Reed has spent almost eight years of his life locked up for a string of offenses from drug trafficking to embezzlement.
Reed told KOB 4 that he grew up in the infamous International District and was surrounded by drug dealing since he was a young boy.
“Probably like 10 years old, 9 years old—since I was young,” Reed said.
Reed has been in and out of prison over the years—and he’s not alone. More than half of all New Mexico prisoners who are released end up back behind bars within three years.
With the state’s recidivism rate at a 10-year high, state officials are taking steps to reduce the number of prisoners who re-offend once they’re released.
“I came into this agency the first thing I recognized was that the recidivism reduction bureau, it's almost nill. There's a very small staff there,” said Corrections Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero.
The state recently hired a new recidivism reduction director who will help ensure that prisoners who leave prison, stay out of prison for good.
“I do think that as a corrections agency, we have a responsibility to contribute to that process and to help these people who are in our institutions fare better when they get out into the world,” Lucero said.
The hope is that inmates like Reed will find more success in life after lockup.
“It's important that we give them the services they need to succeed and that we listen to them so that we're part of their success instead of the reason for their failure,” Lucero said.
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