Updated: February 12, 2020 09:28 AM
Created: February 11, 2020 10:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A program that helps formerly incarcerated youth is asking lawmakers for money to expand their services to include more counties.
The UNM Adobe program has already helped more than 100 teens turn their lives around by connecting them to medical care and educational services.
“We take care of about 141 kids and we see about 100 of them on regular basis, but we also take care of family members so we see parents, siblings and grandparents as well because we believe that if we stabilize the whole family in terms of their medical and psychiatric care, we have a better chance of stabilizing a young person,” said Dr. Andrew Hsi, director of the Adobe program.
Dr. Hsi said that incarcerated youth often have substance abuse and mental illness issues.
“When we look at youth that are incarcerated, a very large number of them have an ongoing substance issue disorder issue,” he said. “About 100 percent of kids incarcerated in 2011 in the state youth prison had an access one psychiatric diagnosis.”
According to Dr. Hsi, once you a youth is incarcerated, it’s hard to stay out. The Adobe program has helped decrease youth recidivism.
“If you entered the detention center in Bernalillo County you had a 70 percent chance of recommitted there in the coming year. We've brought that level down to under 10 percent,” He said.
The Adobe program is asking the state to appropriate $997,000 to help them operate and expand. Right now, the bill is sitting in the House Education Committee. A hearing for the bill has not been scheduled.
If passed, the UNM Health Sciences Center would be able to help another 150 kids get the help they need and stay out of jail.
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company