New Poll: When It Comes to Addressing Crime, New Mexico Voters Want Rehabilitation not Incarceration

New Poll: When It Comes to Addressing Crime, New Mexico Voters Want Rehabilitation not Incarceration


October 15, 2018


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]


New Poll: When It Comes to Addressing Crime, New Mexico Voters Want Rehabilitation not Incarceration


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today, New Mexico SAFE -- a coalition of more than 30 organizations and community leaders dedicated to creating a more safe, fair, and prosperous New Mexico -- released the results of a poll conducted to assess New Mexicans’ views on crime, public safety, and justice. The poll, one of the most comprehensive ever conducted on the subject in New Mexico, reveals that New Mexicans strongly desire reform of the criminal justice system and favor rehabilitation and treatment as a means of increasing public safety.


“At a moment when crime is at the forefront of many New Mexicans’ minds, it’s critical that our leaders and policy makers have an accurate understanding of how the public really feels about these issues,” said Emily Kaltenbach, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Our poll has revealed that many of our state’s leaders are out of step with what New Mexicans really feel and believe about crime and public safety. The results show that New Mexicans are eager to move beyond the purely punitive approach that has failed to curb crime in our state.”


The poll was conducted from August 22-29, 2018 by Latino Decisions with a sample size of 502 adults and a margin of error +/- 4.4 percentage points. Among the key takeaways from the results were that:


  • 75% of New Mexicans are worried about crime in their communities.
  • 70% think it's important to reduce the number of people we incarcerate in our state.
  • 75% support rehabilitation and treatment over punitive approaches to crime.
  • 72% believe that people suffering from addictions should be in treatment programs, not prison.
  • 85% believe that people suffering from mental health disabilities need mental health services, not incarceration.
  • Crime victims in New Mexico are just as likely to support reducing the prison population and rehabilitation as non-victims.
  • A majority of voters are more likely to vote for candidates who support a broad range of criminal justice reforms.


An executive summary of the poll’s findings is available here.


“We know that simply throwing more people in prison does nothing to address the underlying causes of crime,” said Selinda Guerrero, an organizer with Millions for Prisoners. “Addiction treatment programs, job training, educational opportunities, and mental health programs are more effective and affordable alternatives to incarceration. New Mexicans understand that these approaches will make our communities safer and more prosperous, and it’s time for our leaders and policy makers to reinvest our resources in real rehabilitative solutions.”


New Mexico SAFE has published a Legislative Roadmap to help candidates and state legislators craft a smarter, more effective approach to public safety as we head into elections and legislative session in early 2019.


Download a PDF copy of the NM SAFE Legislative Roadmap.