Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $150,000)
The Bernalillo County Youth Services Center (YSC) is one of four secure juvenile detention facilities in the state of New Mexico. It sits in Bernalillo County, which encompasses the city of Albuquerque. In addition to housing Bernalillo County youth, the YSC serves as a secure juvenile detention facility for 23 other counties and two tribal jurisdictions in the state of New Mexico. It houses, on average, 170 youth ages 11 to 20 who are charged with serious felonies involving harm or death to others.
The YSC has not updated its emergency operations plan since 2019. Since then, a worldwide pandemic challenged the YSC to develop policies and procedures to ensure the health and well-being of staff and youth. New risks have heightened concerns that in the event of an emergency evacuation, YSC lack a backup location to safely house youth and staff and keep programs operational.
As a result, the YSC seeks to update its emergency operations plan. This need is made more pressing in the face of natural, technological, and man-made disasters that can – and have - occurred close to the facility. Among the risks the YSC faces are a record-breaking wildfire season, proximity to an industrial area where hazardous liquid propane and other materials are stored and transported, and an increasing number of firearm-related crimes in the Albuquerque metro area. Most recently, a series of wildfires in the nearby Bosque riparian wilderness, a warehouse fire at the next-door recycling facility, and a firearm-related police response have forced YSC to go into lockdown.
The YSC seeks funding to improve and update its emergency planning activities to be in alignment with OJJDP’s “Emergency Planning for Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities” guidebook. YSC, working jointly with its numerous local, state, and federal partners, will implement activities aligned with the OJJDP guidebook that culminate with the approval of an emergency operations plan and the ability to exercise its effectiveness. Among those activities to be undertaken in the two-year grant period:
Formation of a planning team with local and state stakeholders.
Hiring a consultant to perform a vulnerability assessment.
Identification of essential functions.
Development of goals and objectives aligned with the OJJDP guide.
The writing, dissemination and approval of an updated emergency operations plan.
Training of staff and youth in the procedures and policies of the new plan.
Exercising the plan and evaluating its effectiveness.