FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2016
Contact: Micah McCoy, (972) 740-6675, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Mexico SAFE releases crime bill report card
The coalition releases its first analysis of bills from recent legislative sessions
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today New Mexico SAFE, a group of 26 diverse community organizations concerned with public safety, releases its first report grading bills from previous legislative sessions according to its SAFE litmus test. The report analyzes seven bills in total, finding that four of them would do a good job of helping to fix New Mexico’s broken criminal justice system and improve public safety.
Each bill is assigned a letter grade, A-F. An ‘A’ grade means the bill meets the SAFE criteria, while an ‘F’ denotes a failure to meet any of the criteria.
Legislation must meet each standard to be considered SAFE:
1) Does it make New Mexico SAFER for children and families?
Tougher penalties do not correlate with a decrease in crime. Serious legislation must prevent tragedies before they happen to make New Mexico safer for children and families.
2) Is it APOLITICAL?
Too many politicians in New Mexico use tough-on-crime proposals to prop up their political campaigns. Serious legislation must address the problem of crime and public safety, not advance a political agenda.
3) Is it FISCALLY-RESPONSIBLE?
New Mexico has one of the nation’s most devastating budget crises. Any serious legislation must be fiscally responsible. If it doesn’t actually make communities safer, it’s not worth the money.
4) Is it EVIDENCE-BASED?
Finally, serious legislation must be supported by evidence that it actually works. We cannot afford to waste time on bills that have no proven track record of reducing crime or increasing public safety, nor bills whose implementation has shown bias or inequitable treatment.
“NM SAFE’s litmus test will help the public and policymakers determine which bills introduced in the legislature will keep our communities safe, based on solid evidence,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico and NM SAFE member. “Our grading system gives high marks to new crime bills that don’t waste taxpayer dollars and will actually improve safety. We’ve seen too many bills introduced to score political points rather than to truly reduce crime. Likewise, some very smart bills based on effective policy don’t get the traction they deserve.”
“In order to create meaningful and lasting change we must offer policy solutions that are proven to work,” said Adriann Barboa, Field Director of Strong Families New Mexico and NM SAFE member. “We can’t just throw more people in jail to solve the problems facing our state. Offering comprehensive treatment options, behavioral healthcare, and violence prevention programs will ensure that crime is reduced and our communities are safe.”
A PDF Copy of the report card is available here.