1. NEW MEXICO PRISONS AND JAILS
Most other states have experienced drops in both crime rates and the size of their prison
populations. New Mexico is one of the few states where our crime rates have gone up while our
prison population continues to grow. At the same time, inmates in New Mexico face rampant abuses in
the use of solitary confinement, the denial of adequate medical treatment, and a lack of
programming/services in New Mexico’s jails and prisons, making it difficult for them to transition
to life after prison.
Q: What do you believe is the role and purpose of New Mexico prisons and jails? What, if anything,
would you do differently when it comes to managing these facilities? If a jail or prison were
forced to close or threatening to close, what would you do to facilitate job programs that aren’t
related to corrections?
JA: 37% of those incarcerated in New Mexico are serving time for non-‐violent or cannabis related
offenses. 6% are mentally ill. It costs the state $100 a day to keep them locked up, and very few
receive meaningful rehabilitation. It costs only $23 a day to provide treatment. I’m going to
legalize cannabis and work to release all non-‐violent cannabis offenders. I will work move all
other non-‐violent offenders and non-‐violent mentally ill inmates to parole situations and
2-‐year treatment & job training programs. This will allow us to move $221 Million over to offer
treatment and care that provides the mental health and job skills to live successful lives outside
In regards to viewing prisons as an industry that provides jobs, New Mexico’s status quo
politicians have been deluded by their practice of poverty politics. They see prisons as a source
of economic growth and jobs, failing to recognize that that it’s our poorest people who are most
often incarcerated. My plan to turn New Mexico around calls for investing
$1.2 Billion from our investment funds into small businesses in New Mexico. We’ll still earn 2.5%
interest, but more important, we’ll create 225,000 new jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax
revenue. Please read my full economic plan here:
Q: Do you support legislation, such as decriminalization of drugs, which would reduce the
JA: Yes, please see my answer above. Many drug users are dealing with mental illness. I want
to give them treatment instead of jail time.
2. EXECUTIVE ACTION
Our current governor has embraced an approach to public safety that reflects a tough-‐on-‐ crime
attitude that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s and helped lead to the mass incarceration crisis
currently affecting our nation. As the new governor, you would have broad authority to shape agencies and policy at the state level.
Q: What is your administrative approach to criminal justice reform, particularly in light of rising
JA: Rises in poverty fuel rises in crime. “Tough-‐on-‐crime” rhetoric often masks policies that
purposely shift wealth to the 1%. My goal is to keep people out of prison. I want to invest in job
opportunities and training on the front end instead of spending more money on police and jails
after the fact. Investing into small businesses and creating job will immediately create
opportunities instead of crime. Please know I do strongly believe that someone who commits a
violent crime should receive the full punishment of the law.
I will invest to create innovative educational pathways for all New Mexico students beginning at
birth through age 20, including creating job training and trade skills programs to expand
opportunities for New Mexico’s youth. I’m committed to accessible pre-‐school, early in-‐home
education programs and early family development programs implemented state-‐wide. And I will fund
after-‐school programs and job training opportunities for all New Mexico middle and high school
students to engage our youth in their future opportunities. Please read my entire educational
platform here: https://apo18.com/education-‐plan/
Q: What alternate policy approaches to public safety do you favor that move beyond the outdated
hyper-‐punitive strategies that have led to overcrowded prisons with little corresponding
reduction in crime?
JA: In addition to investing more in the job and education programs I’ve described, I support the
individual pieces of legislation nmSAFE gave A & B ratings to during your 2017 & 2018
Legislative Scorecard analyses. For example, HB 160 directs the Behavioral Health Services
Department to “create a framework of targeted, individualized interventions” for nonviolent adult
and juvenile offenders with behavioral health diagnoses. This is exactly the kind of justice reform
I’ve been campaigning about.
3. EVIDENCE BASED STRATEGIES
Criminal justice policy decisions are often made by well-‐meaning policymakers in reaction to a
tragic situation. Unfortunately, this means many policies are reactionary and may have unintended
consequences. Those closest to the problem, such as victims, their families,
and formerly incarcerated individuals, are closest to the solution, but are often forgotten or
excluded from policymaking.
Q: What would you do to empower directly impacted individuals, families, and communities to have a
voice in criminal justice reform?
JA: My campaign has advocated for restorative justice programs to be implemented in schools. I’d like
the same kind of model to be used in regards to criminal justice. All stakeholders need to have a
seat at the table and have their voices heard.
Q: How would you ensure that policy decisions are evidence based and data driven, rather than
subject to the whims of the public?
JA: Science-‐based decision making is important, and will be the standard used to guide my
administration in all areas, not just criminal justice. The other candidates for Governor are
career politicians. I have not held prior political offices and will not seek a higher office after
my term as Governor. As such, I can assure you I will not be making decisions for political gain. I
will be making decisions based on what’s best for the everyday people of New Mexico. Our state
didn’t just wake up one day at the top of the lists on poverty, crime
& incarceration. We got here based on decisions fueled by political motives. I’m running for
Governor because I’m tired of the way things have been done. Making science-‐based decisions will
be a breath of fresh air.
Earlier this year, New Mexico’s broken parole system received national attention
Q: What would you do as governor to fix these issues?
JA: I will fully fund our corrections system to make sure we have the man-‐power to avoid guards
working excessive overtime and administrators being unable to file the parole
paper necessary to solve this problem. Sadly, in-‐house parole costs the state millions, while
continuing to provide payouts to the private prisons housing the prisoners because of “late”
paperwork. Many state employees in the corrections system are overworked. In fact, it’s dangerous
considering how many guards are asked to work double and triple overtime. Poverty politics lies at
the root of this problem. It’s a vicious cycle of the Governor and
Law-‐makers claiming we’re too poor to hire enough people to do the job properly. This keeps more
people locked up and out of the workforce. This leads to more poverty. And while the state loses
money and people’s lives are harmed, we see private prisons prosper. The $10+ Million the US New
article referred to being spent on housing inmates beyond their parole dates could just as easily
have been spent to hire enough government workers to make paroles happen on a timely basis.
Q: Do you support legislation addressing problems with parole, such as former SB 216
Parole Board Procedures and SB 116 Medical/Geriatric Parole?
JA: Yes, I strongly support both bills. SB 216 says that after 30 years, the inmate “shall be paroled”
unless the inmate is unwilling or unable to fulfill the obligations of a law-‐abiding citizen.
SB116 creates a streamlined parole process for geriatric, physically incapacitated and terminally
ill prisoners. In both cases, these are policies I support.
New Mexico is one of only a handful of states that do not allow criminal records expungement or
sealing. Having a criminal record, from a simple arrest to a felony conviction, is often a barrier
to employment, safe housing, education, and a myriad of other collateral consequences.
Q: Do you support second chances for people with justice system involvement, and if so, what would
you do as governor to provide second chances?
JA: Yes, I support 2nd chances. I want to move people out of the criminal system. Without the
opportunity for good jobs, we’re basically facilitating a person’s return to crime. I would be
happy to partner with nmSAFE to call on law-‐makers to change these laws.
Q: Do you support legislation that would help people move on with their lives and support their
families, such as expungement/sealing of criminal records, Fair Chance Hiring (“Ban the Box”, and
the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act?
JA: Yes, please see my above answer.
According to the New Mexico Sentencing Commission, a significant portion of inmates in New Mexico
are incarcerated on charges of simple possession of drugs for personal use. By any measure, the War
on Drugs has been a failure because incarceration by itself does nothing to address issues of
addiction and dependency and punitive approaches to problematic drug use have devastated
communities of color across the United States.
Q: What would you do as governor to address the lack of services available for people in New
Mexico, particularly low-‐income families, which have loved ones struggling with addiction?
JA: Please see my answer to the first question. We can free up over $200 million by working to release
non-‐violent and mentally ill inmates and enrolling them in treatment & job training programs
lasting up to 2 years. These savings than then be used to fund better prevention and treatment
programs for everyone—before a person reaches full blown addiction. One SAMHSA paper I read shows
that for every dollar spent on prevention the government saves $12-‐$14 later. My solution is more
robust prevention efforts and long-‐term treatment and job training opportunities being funded by
the savings from moving non-‐ violent offenders out of jails.
Q: Do you support legislation that would reduce or eliminate the penalty for simple possession of a
controlled substance? Do you support alternatives to incarceration and prosecution, such as the Law
Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program?
JA: Yes, I’m the only candidate for Governor who is campaigning to immediately legalize adult use cannabis and parole all non-‐violent cannabis offenders. And I fully support establish a program like LEAD for New Mexcio. A Recent study conducted in Seattle found that LEAD participants had 60 percent lower odds of being rearrested in the first six months after entry into the
evaluation, and 58 percent lower odds of being rearrested over the entire course of the study.
7. PRETRIAL DETENTION
New Mexico voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment stipulating that an inability
to pay cannot be the sole reason for detaining an individual. Now that the new Supreme Court bail
rules have gone into effect, many people are released to pretrial services and may be required to
pay for drug testing, GPS monitoring, counseling, and other conditions of release.
Q: What would you do as governor to balance individual rights of accused (not convicted)
individuals with the safety of the community?
JA: New Mexico leads the nation in per capita incarceration rates. And many of those being jailed are
simply awaiting trial instead of actually being convicted. Plain and simple, this is a form of
debtors prison. And the shift to paying for conditions of release is just a sanitized version of
locking people up for the crime of being poor. We need to enact the invest plan I’ve laid out to
create jobs and raise everyone’s standard of living. We also need to require that the state pay for
any conditions it imposes on a person who is arrested, but not convicted of a crime. State law can
be adjusted to require a financial fine be assessed for the costs of these conditions as part of
sentencing, once a person is convicted. Until then, innocent until proven guilty should be the
standard for burdens placed as a conditional of bail.
Q: Do you support the bail amendment and the Supreme Court Rules? If not, how would you seek to
JA: I support the bail amendment and believe the Supreme Court Rules make significant progress. Money
based bail systems are unjust. Risk assessments are better able to help identify danger to the
public and flight risks. The Supreme Court’s assessment of Key Facts And Law Regarding Pretrial
Release And Detention found that “new court rules have not caused higher crime rates.” This is the
direction we should be heading.
8. ADDRESSING UNDERLYING CAUSES
Many states have implemented criminal justice reform and seen crime rates go down. New Mexico is
somewhat unique because crime has been rising for many years and several recent justice reforms,
such as bail reform, have not reversed the trend.
Q: Why do you believe New Mexico has struggled with crime rates over the past decade? While other
states are experiencing economic growth, New Mexico has lost 145,000 jobs.
JA: We’re at the top of the unemployment lists and at the bottom for jobs, wages poverty and business
climate. This is what has caused our so much more crime. Failed “get tough” policies have made it
Q: What would you do as governor to invest in proven, but long-‐term, solutions to crime (i.e.,
unemployment, housing, education, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment)?
JA: My above answers have addressed most of these topics already. To summarize, I plan to introduce
major changes to turn New Mexico around. This will include
- $15/hour living wage jobs
Investing $1.2 Billion to provide low interest loans to New Mexico small businesses to grow
our tax base and create 225,000 new jobs
Investing in early childhood education & creating multiple pathways for youth to start
businesses, find good careers or pursue higher education.
What I haven’t addressed so far is my commitment to the New Mexico Health Security Campaign to
provide affordable universal health care to New Mexicans not receiving Medicare, Veterans Health or
Indian Health services. For more details, please see:
This health care plan will include behavioral and mental health, as well as substance abuse
I believe my big ideas for addressing jobs, wages, education and health care are needed to address
the underlying causes of our crime epidemic.
9. POLICE AND BORDER MILITARIZATION
Surveillance and military technologies have been used to intimidate and oppress certain communities
more than others. Many cities and some states have introduced legislation aimed at ensuring
residents are empowered to decide if and how surveillance and military technologies are used by law
enforcement in their communities.
Q: Would you support state-wide legislation that maximizes the public’s influence over whether or
not police can acquire or deploy military and surveillance equipment? If so, what is your vision?
JA: Yes, I support legislation that includes public influence over the militarization of police. I
would support surveillance before deployment, but both measures need better oversight. SWAT units
serve a purpose that is needed and should operate on a limited basis, but I do not believe in
tactical training for the majority of police officers.
Community policing and better relations are imperative. On the police side, we need to move away
from the “gang training” mentality that citizens are out to get us. As a student, police officers
used to drop by our schools regularly to visit, rather than being assigned to
protect children against gang members and domestic terrorists as is done now. Officers
would watch sports practices and talk with students. We got to know police officers as people, not
adversaries. I’d like to see more interactions at all levels between police and the community
members they serve to foster better community connections.
Q: What other measures would you take to protect the public against civil rights and liberties
violations that so often occur alongside the increased use of highly sophisticated surveillance and
JA: I think the New Mexico State Police have a good attitude about police interactions. Their goal is
to see that “everybody goes home.” I attended a seminar in Las Vegas, NV that focused on “Survive
the Moment” training. What struck me most was that the emphasis was on making sure the citizen
being interacted with survive. We need to re-‐envision the mission statements of New Mexico police to encompass a more humanitarian approach.