This overview outlines several criminal justice challenges in New Mexico, including high crime rates and overdose death rates, a growing prison population, and an increase in the reincarceration rate, and provides a summary of the stages of the Justice Reinvestment process.
At a time when many states have lowered prison populations and seen crime rates fall, New Mexico’s prison population is projected to increase 16 percent by FY2028 unless action is taken to curb the growth. The state also had the highest property crime rate and the second-highest violent crime rate in the country in 2017.
In the summer of 2018, former Governor Susana Martinez, Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura, Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle, and House Minority Floor Leader Nate Gentry requested support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) to explore a Justice Reinvestment approach to address these challenges.
Under the direction of New Mexico’s Justice Reinvestment Working Group, CSG Justice Center staff will conduct a comprehensive analysis of data collected from various relevant state agencies and departments. CSG Justice Center staff will also convene focus groups and lead interviews with key stakeholders in New Mexico’s criminal justice system. Based on the findings from these extensive quantitative and qualitative analyses, CSG Justice Center staff, in collaboration with the Justice Reinvestment Working Group, will develop policy options that are designed to increase public safety, reduce recidivism, and contain the cost of corrections in the state. Policy options will be provided to the legislature for approval in early 2019.