CARA Projects

New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department Needs Assessments & Program Evaluation

CARA is collaborating with New Mexico's Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) on two projects that will guide policy and decision-making for older adult services.

Our first project involves the development of a statewide needs assessment that prioritizes older adults in rural and frontier communities. Phase 1 of this project ended in June 2023 and included a statewide survey of staff and providers, literature review updates, and focus groups with older adult consumers. We are now engaged in Phase 2, where we utilize secondary U.S. Census data and WellSky consumer service data to further identify broader older adult needs and service provision. A final report is expected in Fall 2024.

CARA has also completed a process evaluation of a new Senior Rural Food Box program in June 2023, and we are currently in the process of evaluating program outcomes through review of client records and pre- and post-test surveys assessing food insecurity and other key metrics of vulnerability. These projects collectively aim to assist ALTSD in better understanding the service needs of older adult New Mexicans, especially within rural and frontier communities. Our focus is on promoting aging-in-place, improving quality of life, and providing key insights into program design and the achievement of outcomes that enhance food security for older adults.

Administrative Office of the Courts New Mexico Statewide Public Safety Assessment Implementation and Validation Study

The purpose of this study is to study the implementation of the PSA in New Mexico where it has been implemented outside of Bernalillo County and assess the validity of the PSA. Specifically, we are studying whether the PSA is able to measure what it is intended to, which is the likelihood of failing to appear at future court hearings (FTA), committing new criminal activity (NCA), and new violent criminal activity (NVCA). To the extent possible, the predictive ability of the PSA will be assessed, by judicial district, by charge severity, by race, and by gender. We intend to present and publish these findings.

Administrative Office of the Courts Bernalillo County Public Safety Assessment Revalidation

The purpose of ISR’s study is to revalidate the PSA, specifically the ability of the PSA is to measure what it is intended to, which is the likelihood of failing to appear at future court hearings (FTA), committing new criminal activity (NCA), and new violent criminal activity (NVCA). UIn addition, the predictive ability of the PSA will be assessed by race and by gender.

In June 2021 we completed the first validation study of the PSA in Bernalillo County. Validation studies are vital, and more research needs to occur that focuses on reporting the predictability of the tool. However, each validation study and the findings are unique to the jurisdiction. Therefore, the validation of the PSA in Bernalillo County may differ from findings in other jurisdictions. In addition to regular reviews of the outcome measures, testing the predictive validity of the PSA for the local population is necessary to determine to what degree the PSA provides accurate predictions overall and if this accuracy varies by race or gender.

The PSA provides fair to good categorization of individuals, both overall as well as by race and by gender for FTA, NCA, and NVCA. The differences in scores were not statistically significant, which indicates the PSA provides a more accurate assessment than random selection alone and shows there is not a statistically significant difference between race categories or by gender in its effectiveness. The predictive validity of the PSA is demonstrably comparative to other jurisdictions and scores are comparable across groups, indicating that the tool is useful regardless of the individual’s race or gender.

Arnold Ventures Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention

This study includes three related projects. First, we will study the costs of pretrial detention by examining the relationship between the length of pretrial detention and pretrial outcome and by researching the relationship between pretrial detention, as well as the length of pretrial detention, and new criminal activity post-disposition. Second, we will examine the jail cost for pretrial detention and cost by group. This will be done using a variety of variables including PSA recommendation category, demographics, and highest charge. Third, we will explore the cost savings for released felons who are successful during the pretrial detention period.

This project builds upon previous research (Lowenkamp, VanNostrand, and Holsinger, 2013 and Smith 2022) that has studied the impact of pretrial detention on the pretrial outcomes of FTA and NCA and post-disposition recidivism. Research has shown that releasing people pretrial does not threaten public safety (Smith and Robson, 2022 and Washington, 2021) and that holding individuals in pretrial detention can have negative effects (deVouono-powell, et. al., 2015 and Digaran and Swavola, 2019) on individuals. Research has also shown the cost to local governments (PEW, 2021) and communities and individuals is large (Baughman, 2017).

University of New Mexico’s Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for student Enhancement (U-RISE) Evaluation

The University of New Mexico’s Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for student Enhancement (U-RISE), funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health is a program that will take a diverse cohort of students who are two years away from graduation and prepare them for careers in biomedical research. Students will be given research training, mentorship, and support like living stipends, tuition assistance and the ability to attend national conferences to prepare them for graduate school. CARA staff will evaluate the U-RISE program to determine which objectives are being accomplished in terms of recruitment and retention numbers, completing planned activities, and achieving the proposed outcomes. The evaluation will include pre- and post-activity assessments to determine the extent to which U-RISE increases Scholars’ knowledge, skills, and readiness to undertake and succeed in completing a graduate level biomedical research doctoral program.

New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department Needs Assessments & Program Evaluation

CARA is supporting New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) by collaborating on the development and administration of a statewide needs assessment that prioritizes older adults in rural and frontier communities. CARA plans to conduct staff and administrator surveys, consumer focus groups, and record review of agency-specific secondary data. We aim to help the ALTSD better understand the service needs of older adult New Mexicans to promote aging-in-place and improved quality of life. Additionally, we are assisting the Department with preparing and implementing evaluations of older adult programs. Program evaluations will utilize pre-experimental research designs and ultimately aims to document and determine the effectiveness of ATLSD-sponsored older adult services.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP)

The Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) was developed as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) legislation. COSSAP’s purpose is to provide financial and technical assistance to states, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop, implement, or expand comprehensive efforts to identify, respond to, treat, and support those impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants, and other drugs of abuse. The implementation and enhancement of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs in New Mexico is theorized to reduce criminal behavior, decrease criminal justice and emergency health service utilization, and improve public safety by supporting the development of LEAD in tribal and nontribal jurisdictions. The LEAD program in Bernalillo County received funding through COSSAP to expand program operations in 2021. ISR will be assisting in the local and cross-site evaluation of LEAD’s expansion in Bernalillo County.


New Mexico Corrections Department Classification Scoring Form Validation Study

This project focuses on the validation of the New Mexico Corrections Department revised male and new female initial classification forms and reclassification forms and a classification system assessment that meets best practices. This project also includes a more detailed review of reliability assessment data and a process evaluation that will be useful in the validation study and revisions to the classification system.  A classification system that is not working as intended and that is not reliable cannot be validated. A working process and reliability are essential for an objective classification system.

Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) Research

CARA provides on-going evaluation of programs funded to provide drug and alcohol prevention services to residents of Bernalillo County.  This includes a variety of programs targeting K-12 students, adults and the general public.  CARA also evaluates the array of programs located at the Comprehensive Assessment and Recovery through Excellence (CARE) campus.  These programs include the Public Inebriate Intervention Program (PIIP), the Mariposa Residential Program, the Supportive Aftercare Community (SAC) program, the jail-based Addiction Treatment Program (ATP), the Detoxification program, and the Crisis Stabilization Unit.

The Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) St. Joseph's Children (SJC) Randomized Control Trial Longitudinal Study

The Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) St. Joseph's Catholic (SJC) Longitudinal Study is a randomized control trial designed to determine the short- and long-term impacts of the CHI SJC Home Visiting program model. The study compares outcomes between families receiving home visiting services and families in a control group who do not receive these services. This is a longitudinal study following participants from birth through high school graduation or 19 years of age.

Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) Research

In 2015, the Bernalillo County Commission (BCC) and voters approved a new gross-receipts tax (GRT) expected to generate between $17 and $20 million each year, to improve access to care and develop a unified and coordinated behavioral health system in the County and surrounding area.  CARA provides technical assistance, consulting and research services for the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI).  CARA is studying the planning, development, and implementation of the variety of projects and programs funded under the BHI.  This includes a component focused on tracking clients served in the different programs funded by the BHI and how a unified continuum of care improves behavioral health outcomes for individuals and the community.  Studies of the various projects and programs are designed to be the most rigorous possible including quasi-experimental studies and randomized control trials where appropriate.

Bernalillo County Public Safety Program Criminal Justice System Reform Initiatives Research

Funded by Bernalillo County, CARA staff study the array of initiatives designed to enhance public safety, improve the efficient operation of the local criminal justice system, move our jurisdiction closer to best practices, and assist the local jail in its operations.  Routine tasks include tracking and reporting on the jail population (i.e. bookings, releases, length of stay, and other population details) and court system improvement initiatives addressing arraignments, preventive detention, pretrial services, movement of cases through the system, and use of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation Public Safety Assessment.