November 05, 2009

Bingaman and Udall: Key Bill Funds Anti-Gang Activity in San Juan County

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today voted to approve legislation that sets aside $200,000 to help fight gang-related crime in San Juan County.

Specifically, the funding will support the work of Youth Advocate Program in San Juan County, which assists youth on parole and to expand gang prevention efforts to an additional 75 youth and their families.

"The Youth Advocate Program is a successful initiative aimed at reducing gang-related crime. The funding in this bill will help reach out to more young people and help them turn their lives around," Bingaman said.

"Gang-related crime is a serious problem San Juan County. In Farmington, officials report that 40 youth gangs are responsible for 75 percent of crimes in the city," Udall said. "Through this bill, we give Farmington the tools it needs to continue fighting gang violence, help youth offenders turn their lives around, and keep additional kids from getting involved in gangs in the first place."

The spending bill also contains the following to support anti-crime activities around the state:

  • $200,000 - New Mexico Sheriff and Police Athletic League, Gang Prevention-Intervention Program: Funding would help N.M. Sheriff and Police Athletic League further implement a state-wide Gang Prevention-Intervention Program. The Gang Prevention-Intervention Program will address gang violence, drive-by shootings and drug-related murders. The program will identify children and youth who are at-risk for gang recruitment and seek to reduce the attractiveness of gang membership and its lifestyle. The organization will work closely with law enforcement agencies, school systems, and communities to develop strategies to reduce gang activity and promote positive and healthy communities.
  • $200,000 - New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Hispanic Community Outreach: Funding would be used to help the Albuquerque coalition expand its outreach efforts to Hispanics across the state through a comprehensive, multi-media public education campaign to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence. Funding would be used to create and conduct a Spanish-language Hispanic domestic violence public awareness and prevention media campaign. 
  • $300,000 - New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), Drug Court Program: Funding would be used to expand court programs throughout the state and to standardize drug court databases and performance evaluations. New Mexico's drug courts have increased over the last five years from 20 to 41 programs, and continue to report excellent performance outcomes. In 2008, the average recidivism rate was 9.6% for program graduates two years after graduation.
  • $220,000 - New Mexico Attorney General, Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) Outreach and Training Program: The ECU investigates and prosecutes environmental crimes throughout the state and requires resources to educate government agencies and the general public about environmental crime. Funding would be used to conduct live trainings of law enforcement and land management personnel, and do public outreach through the media to create awareness of environmental crimes to deter criminal behavior and increase the reporting of suspected criminal environmental activity.
  • $215,000 - New Mexico Attorney General, Human Trafficking Task Force: Funding would be used to raise awareness about human trafficking and to support efforts of the Task Force, which include the training of law enforcement, a community media campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and the education of health and social service providers in indentifying trafficking victims. In addition, the funding would be used to support victim services.
  • $250,000 - New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), Juvenile Justice Services Pilot Project: CYFD would use the funding to develop and implement national standards for the delivery of juvenile justice services for probationary, paroled and committed youth. Funding would also be used to improve health and behavioral health services, educational services, and to decrease the recidivism rate of youth offenders.
  • $500,000 - New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD), Prisoner Reentry Initiative: Funding would be used by NMCD to expand ongoing prisoner reentry initiatives aimed at rehabilitating prisoners and decreasing recidivism rates.