New team will review state’s criminal justice system

The New Mexico Attorney General introduced a team that will review the state’s criminal justice system, particularly violent crimes, and identify solutions for problems they find. The group, called the Multidisciplinary Violent Crime Review Team, was revealed on Wednesday in Albuquerque and is made up of state and local leaders. Balderas warned the team and members of the public, “this is not going to be an easy process.”

The idea to create the group came after Rio Rancho police officer Gregg Benner was fatally shot earlier this year by a repeat offender. The first phase will include a look into this case. Balderas called the shooting “a breaking point for the general public.”

Julie Benner added that she wants to see changes to the criminal justice system in the state.

CYFD Secretary Jacobson confirmed by Senate

The New Mexico Senate voted to confirm Monique Jacobson as the Secretary of Children, Youth and Families Department on Monday afternoon. The Senate voted 35-2 on her confirmation. Those who spoke in favor of the confirmation said they were impressed with the work Jacobson has accomplished in the short time she has been in charge of the department. Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, told the body he was concerned when he first heard of Jacobson’s appointment, but that he changed his mind when he saw Jacobson’s enthusiasm for the job. “She has taken on the task with energy and zeal,” Soules said.

Senators question use of federal funds by CYFD

Senators on the Finance Committee questioned the new head of the Children, Youth and Families Department on funding issues, including some money they felt should have been spent on childcare issues. Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, in particular questioned CYFD’s use of federal funding. “We cannot leave money on the table when it comes to something that is as important as our children,” Morales told secretary-designate Monique Jacobson. He asked Jacobson about what he said was up to $21 million had been reverted to the federal government. Of that, about $6 million was in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as TANF, funding and another $16 million was in a childcare block grant.