Working For The Guilty, Honoring The Innocent
We are in a new year, yet some things will remain the same for us. Our trash will still be picked up each week. The traffic lights will blink at the same speed they did before. The emergency room will stay open for another 24 hours.
Some things don’t change, and that’s a good thing. Do you ever think about what keeps certain things constant? Probably not. I don’t. It hit me hard this week when I began to watch a new series on Netflix titled Making A Murderer.
The series was filmed over 10 years and follows a small town Wisconsin man named Steven Avery, who is a DNA exoneree. After being incarcerated for 18 years, he is released, let free for a crime he did not commit. Avery then begins a campaign against the local law enforcement offices, seeking compensation for his time behind bars.
What happens next is a wild tale of twists and turns. The show has me hooked. It’s dramatic and surprising. Still, it had me thinking. Thinking about those people, not murders or rapists, but those people who made mistakes, acted foolishly, and are now incarcerated in our local jail.
They committed the crime and now they are serving their time. Most people in the Grant County Detention Center are there for a few weeks or months. Then they return to our neighborhoods, and they are back among us other folk.
There is one person that is working to change the way we think about criminals and about how we treat them. His name is Mike Carillo. A criminal justice veteran, Carillo serves as the Administrator for the Grant County Detention Center. After decades in law enforcement, on the other side, arresting and putting people away, he now works to get criminals to straighten up and return as productive members of society.
It’s no easy task. At any given time, there are over 50 inmates at the detention center. Mostly Hispanic, men aged 18–24 years old. They are young. They are fathers, brothers and neighbors.
We know these people, we see them and for a short period, they are gone, until they return to us, hopefully with changed hearts and minds.
Carillo knows that incarceration is more than a criminal paying the consequences of his sins. It’s about a team of people working for our community to keep us safe by doing more than facilitating punishment. He has recently written legislation for the local detention center, money that would help decrease recidivism.
Pictured is Carillo with students from Western New Mexico University displaying a gift giving project for the children of the incarcerated.
Carillo partners with local organizations including WNMU to bring awareness to the families of inmates, a group of people that are often forgotten.
For working for the guilty, while honoring the innocent, Carillo will be given the annual service award at Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr celebration. Join me in recognizing one of our outstanding community members. The celebration is free to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Mustang Dining Hall on campus.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on January 14, 2016.