Metropolitan Detention Center

Q: What is the mission of the Metropolitan Detention Center?

A: It is the mission of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center to protect the public and to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and inmates under the Principles of Direct Supervision and in accordance with American Correctional Association (ACA) standards.


Q: When did the Metropolitan Detention Center open?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center opened in 2003. It was jointly managed by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County until 2006, and fully managed by Bernalillo County from 2006 to present.


Q: Is the Metropolitan Detention Center accredited?

A: Yes, the Metropolitan Detention Center receives accreditation by the American Correctional Association every three years. Accreditation is voluntary throughout the United States. In Nov. 2017, the most recent audit found the Metropolitan Detention Center in 100-percent compliance with all 367 mandatory and non-mandatory standards of the American Correctional Association, which are based on nationwide best correctional practices.


Q: How large is the Metropolitan Detention Center?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center is approximately 600,000 square feet on 155 acres. It includes space for inmate housing, medical, dental and mental health clinics, law and general libraries, visitation areas, outdoor spaces, offices for public defenders, the district attorney and judges, arraignment space, employee training areas, gym facilities, the cadet academy and inmate classrooms.


Q: What is the Metropolitan Detention Center’s annual budget?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year is approximately $64.6 million. Training costs for 2017 are approximately $1.6 million for all facility staff, $700,000 of which is for McClendon compliance.


Q: How many staff members does the Metropolitan Detention Center employ?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center employs a staff of 551 Bernalillo County employees, including approximately 300 correctional officers and on average 13 officer cadets. Approximately 200 volunteers also provide programming and services.

These figures were current as of Jan. 17, 2018.


Q: What training do Metropolitan Detention Center correctional officers receive?

A: Metropolitan Detention Center correctional officers receive extensive training. In addition to cadet academy instruction, correctional officers receive continued training in defensive tactics, security and supervision protocols, emergency response protocols, suicide intervention, mental health, TASER recertification, Prison Rape Elimination Act refreshers, inmate discipline, inmate detoxification and more.


Q: How many inmates are in the Metropolitan Detention Center?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center has an average daily inmate population of 1,200, and an average Community Custody Program inmate population of 100. Its maximum capacity is 1,950, based on McClendon standards.


Q: How are Metropolitan Detention Center inmates housed?

A: Metropolitan Detention Center inmates are housed in one of five units, made up of either 128 or 256 cells each. Inmates are housed based on security status classifications. Inmates must be classified within 72 hours of their arrival, but most are classified within 24 hours.


Q: What programming do Metropolitan Detention Center inmates receive?

A: The Metropolitan Detention Center offers numerous special programs for inmates, provided by volunteers, contractors and outside vendors.

Health opportunities include full-time, on-site Department of Health clinics, psychotherapeutic groups and harm reduction classes.

Educational opportunities include the Life Skills Counseling Program, the Gordon Bernell Charter School high-school-diploma program, a general library and a law library.

Addiction treatment opportunities include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, the DWI/Addictions Treatment Program Unit, and methadone induction and methadone maintenance.

Other opportunities include childcare and screening services for visiting families, the Alma de Amistad partnership for women, veteran services, recreation in all living areas, and access to religious services and chaplains.


Q: What uniforms do Metropolitan Detention Center inmates wear?

A: Metropolitan Detention Center inmates in the general population wear orange uniforms, while high-risk classified inmates wear red uniforms. Inmates approved for detail/cleaning jobs wear blue uniforms, while kitchen staff (approximately 20 inmates) wear white uniforms.


Q: What are the demographics of Metropolitan Detention Center inmates?

A: 45.3-percent of Metropolitan Detention Center inmates are Hispanic, 33.2-percent are white, 9.6-percent are Native American, 7.1-percent are African-American, 1.0-percent are Mexican, 0.4-percent are Asian/Pacific Islander and 3.0-percent are of unknown race.

74.8-percent of inmates are male, and 25.2-percent are female.

5.0-percent of inmates are 18 to 20 years of age, 9.7-percent are 21 to 23, 11.4-percent from 24 to 26, 12.5-percent are 27 to 29, 34.5-percent are 30 to 39, 16.3-percent are 40 to 49, 8.5-percent are 50 to 59, and 2.1-percent are 60 years of age and older.

These figures were calculated between Oct. and Dec. 2017.


Q: How can I visit a Metropolitan Detention Center inmate?

A: Inmates can be visited at the Metropolitan Detention Center, 100 Deputy Dean Miera Drive SW, Albuquerque, NM 87151. Inmates are allowed up to two visits per week, and must be in custody for 72 hours before visits can begin. Visitors may not bring cell phones, and must follow the Visitor Dress Code and the directions of Metropolitan Detention Center staff at all times. For more details, please visit

For directions, please visit our location page.


Q: How do I send money to a Metropolitan Detention Center inmate?

A: You can deposit money into a Metropolitan Detention Center inmate’s account at four different locations: in person at the facility’s kiosks located in the lobby (available from 8 am to 8 pm each day), in the Treasurer’s Office at 1 Civic Plaza NW (during business hours only), by mail or online. For more details and deposit rules, please visit


Q: How can I apply to work at the Metropolitan Detention Center?

A: MDC employs approximately 500 people and is always looking for new talent to join our team. Please visit the Bernalillo County jobs page and our recruiting page.


Q: How can I volunteer at the Metropolitan Detention Center?

A: Members of the public may volunteer at the Metropolitan Detention Center for religious offerings or other programs. Volunteers must be endorsed by a church, non-profit or other similar organization. Prospective volunteers must call (505) 839-8718 to schedule an appointment. If the prospective volunteer’s services are needed at the Metropolitan Detention Center, an application packet will then be given.

Volunteers may serve on a weekly basis, but must serve at least once a month. Attendance at an annual meeting, usually held during business hours, is also required. For more details, please visit


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