Offering humane, cost-effective alternatives to incarceration.
- 2018 NM Female Inmate Population: 797
- 2018 NM Male Inmate Population: 6,605
Unlike the national average, the number of people incarcerated in New Mexico is growing. The New Mexico Sentencing Commission estimates that over the next two years, the number of male and female inmates will grow by 3% and 1%, respectively, which is higher than the national average. Trends over the last six years indicate that the female inmate population is continuing to grow.
Within New Mexico, the recidivism rate has steadily increased over the last ten years among both male and female inmates (51.7% and 45.6%, respectively). This points to a clear and pressing need for supportive services, such as HopeWorks’ Dismas/Covenant Houses, for offenders reentering the community from incarceration.
Dismas/Covenant House is a 90 day program. We have extended the stay of clients that have been doing well for up to 6 months in house. We also have a 1 year aftercare program in which a CSW visits graduates in their home for the year after discharge from the Houses.
The process for intake: A person can get a blank application by contacting us or on our web page. We also have applications on file with most jails and prisons in New Mexico. Usually the case managers at the facilities send us a completed application and we review for some basic criteria:
- Diagnosable mental health issue.
- Required to be on probation or parole.
- Not have a sex or arson related charges.
- No gang affiliation.
- Not be in a suboxone, methadone or medical marijuana program.
After that, the application is assigned to a case manager that does an interview (usually by phone considering the circumstances) and then a denial or acceptance letter is sent out to the case manager at the correction facility. We also accept walk-ins for applications and can schedule an interview for applicants that are not currently incarcerated and on probation/parole. This application/interview process can take up to two weeks, depending on circumstances and availability of the case managers/inmates.
Our waitlist is ranked based on a projected release date and most of the time we have one or two beds of our 20 for men and 15 for women available. If someone is on in-house parole we try to fast track those applications, as well as the applications where someone is currently unhoused, or visits us from the community.
We require that our clients attend at least two groups a week. The subject matter covers mood management through mindfulness, addiction and trauma through Seeking Safety, and Recovery through Creativity. We also have alternating weekly AA/NA groups at the Houses and require that our clients attend at least 2 per month. We have random drug and room checks and report positive results to their probation officers. One positive test does not mean they will be discharged, but generally two will. We also have a therapist for one on one counseling for our clientele. In addition, we have daily and weekly chores that are required to be completed.
The monthly cost of $300.00 is a part of our program and to give us a good understanding of the commitment to reintegration from our clients. Generally the first month is paid for by a grant from the New Mexico Probation and Parole department and this helps by giving our clients time to get the necessary paperwork to gain employment.
Services that are provided at Dismas/Covenant House include:
Weekly case management meetings to assist clients with being connected with community supports including medical needs, psychiatric needs, housing needs, and employment needs. A treatment plan is created with their case manager that addresses basic needs such as employment, medical/mental health care, healthy and consistent communication, and eventually housing.