The Way Forward

The New Mexico SAFE approach relies on evidence based, cost-effective strategies that are proven to hold offenders accountable and prevent future crimes in our communities. Our way forward for a safer New Mexico includes: 

Remove incarceration as a penalty for certain crimes

The best way to shrink our bloated prisons while protecting public safety is to consider eliminating incarceration as a penalty for certain classes of low-level, non‐violent offenses – especially when these offenses are the result of mental illness, drug addiction, or are first‐time offenses. Right now, we waste precious dollars and space to imprison people who could be held accountable more effectively outside of prisons; this way, we can reserve our resources and beds for the most dangerous offenders.

 

Strengthen alternatives, prevention and treatment programs

With the money and manpower saved, we can strengthen and streamline our parole and probation systems to assure accountability and reduce recidivism and launching programs that are proven to prevent crime in the first place, such as drug treatment, access to mental health services and job training. Where appropriate, we can also refocus our justice system on helping offenders to redeem themselves through repairing the harm caused by their crime, reconciling them with their victims and the community at large.

 

Streamline existing prison population

We can make smart distinctions between the people currently in prison who continue to pose threats to safety and those who are ready to re‐enter society. We can release prisoners who have earned good time credit and who have completed job training and education programs. We can transition people currently incarcerated into increasingly independent living environments, such as half‐way houses. These reforms can reduce costs and reduce recidivism and increase public safety by better preparing people in prison for productive lives “on the outside.”

 

Specific Policy Proposals

New Mexico SAFE is developing specific policy proposals to get our criminal justice system back to what really matters: keeping our families safe. Learn more about our proposed policies.