New program strives to break cycle of addiction and arrest in Santa Fe

Capt. Jerome Sanchez of the Santa Fe Police Department, left, listens as Monica Ault, an attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance, speaks during a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program meeting at the city’s Market Station offices on Jan. 16. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican

Meet Richard, a 23-year-old who has been booked into jail 14 times for larceny, burglary, failure to appear, possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. In the past three years, he has spent 681 days in the Santa Fe County jail at a cost of $65,000.

Meet Rose, a 25-year-old with a history of cocaine and heroin use who is regularly picked up for shoplifting and burglary. She has been arrested 16 times, spending 316 days in jail and costing taxpayers $30,000.

Then there is Tina, who has no violent arrests, but shoplifts to support a heroin habit. She has spent 348 days in jail at a cost of $33,000.

This article has been amended to reflect the following correction:

Correction: Feb. 10, 2014

A cutline on page A-1 of the Feb. 10 edition incorrectly identified Jason Lidyard. His title is assistant district attorney, not district attorney.