COVID-19 Assistance for the Justice Community
The ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires policymakers and criminal justice practitioners to rapidly adapt their day-to-day operations to the situation at hand. While the pace and scale of the crisis can be overwhelming, the CSG Justice Center is committed more than ever to supporting its members—state and local officials working in all three branches of government in criminal and juvenile justice, behavioral health, housing, and labor.
New Mexico Initiatives
In partnership with New Mexico state leaders, the CSG Justice Center is working on several key criminal justice initiatives to increase public safety, including Stepping Up, Justice Reinvestment, and Improving Outcomes for Youth.
Justice Reinvestment in New Mexico
In 2018, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in New Mexico to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice challenges.
Unlike many states across the country, New Mexico has seen steady growth in its prison population in recent years. Unless action is taken to curb this trend, the prison population is projected to increase 9 percent by fiscal year (FY) 2024. The state also had the highest property crime rate and the second-highest violent crime rate in the country as of 2017.
In the summer of 2018, then 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 conducted a comprehensive analysis of data collected from various relevant state agencies and departments. CSG Justice Center staff also convened focus groups and led 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 New Mexico Justice Reinvestment Working Group, developed policy options that were designed to increase public safety, reduce recidivism, and contain the cost of corrections in the state.
These policies were reflected in House Bill (HB) 342 and HB 564. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 342 into law in April 2019, ensuring that victims of crime will have more avenues by which to receive support. She vetoed HB 564, however, noting that the bill “is predicated on sound policy considerations” but citing the need for additional stakeholder engagement. Had it been enacted, HB 564 would have strengthened probation and parole supervision and provided new strategies for handling technical violations of supervision, allowing the state to avert $61.3 million in costs and reduce the prison population by 609 people between FY2020 and FY2024.
- Justice Reinvestment in New Mexico: Overview (December 4, 2018): 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.
- Justice Reinvestment in New Mexico: First Presentation (December 14, 2018): The first presentation to the New Mexico Justice Reinvestment Working Group summarizes findings related to crime and victimization, behavioral health challenges that pertain to people in New Mexico’s criminal justice system, and probation policies and practices in the state.
- Justice Reinvestment in New Mexico: Second Presentation (January 31, 2019): The second presentation to the New Mexico Justice Reinvestment Working Group summarizes findings and policy options related to reducing crime and supporting victims of crime, community supervision, and reincarceration rates.
- Justice Reinvestment in New Mexico: Policy Framework (August 21, 2019): The final report outlines policy recommendations developed to strengthen supervision practices, reduce the number of probation and parole revocations to prison, and increase support for victims of crime.
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