Organizations concerned over parole office plans

Posted at: 04/15/2013 10:21 PM
Updated at: 04/16/2013 12:30 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The state wants to set up a new place for convicts to check in with their probation and parole officers.

But organizations that serve families and young people in Albuquerque are upset, because the plan would bring those offenders to their neighborhood.

Warehouse 508 is where many Albuquerque teens feel free.

It’s where they’re able to express themselves through art programs and after school activities year-round.

An estimated 1,500 teens visit the non-profit every year.

"It means home,” said Dagney Hales. “It's a safe place for me to go, youth that are motivated, make friends."

Teens like Dagney Hales want state officials to listen.

"I would not feel safe here," she said.

The teens are upset because the state wants to move an office for about 2,000 people on probation/parole just down the street from Warehouse 508.

"I'm scared that there's a possibility of sex offenders 250 feet away from our door," said Kahlila Hughes.

The state is looking to buy the Plaza Maya building on 1st Street.

It would house the Department of Corrections, Region II Office of Probation and Parole.

DOC says their lease is up in the current building in Nob Hill and they want to keep officers close to court.

DOC adds the move would save tax payers money. Read a full statement from the department here:

Statement from Department of Corrections

But leaders of Youth Development Inc., a nearby YMCA Child Care Center, Warehouse 508 and State Representative Rick Miera all say, not in our backyard.

"We've worked too hard downtown to make this a better place and a better community. This is not the time. This is not the place," said Miera during a press conference.

DOC says it should be mentioned YDI told them they were on board and they haven’t complained.

But the leaders, including YDI’s president, say that’s because they weren’t even told about the possibility of the move until it was presented as if it were already a done deal.

DOC says there’s no timeline for when they would move into the building.