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?
MLG: The primary role and purpose of New Mexico jails and prisons should be to promote and protect
public safety. We need to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and help ensure that our
communities are safe from further violence and damage. Another important responsibility is to
reduce recidivism by providing resources to help people re-enter the community as productive
participants who do not commit more crimes.
I don’t believe that our criminal justice system focuses enough on this second role. When the state
incarcerates someone, we have the responsibility to ensure that person lives in a safe and
appropriate setting and receives needed medical care and services. We should also invest in
helping inmates return successfully to their communities through educational and vocational
training programs and by connecting people to Medicaid coverage and critical healthcare services
when they leave prison or jail.
Prisons and jails serve different roles in our criminal justice system. Prisons are operated by the
state and incarcerate people who receive longer sentences for their crimes. Jails are operated by
our counties, incarcerate people with shorter sentences, process people who are arrested for
a variety of offenses, frequently related to drug and alcohol use, and detain people awaiting
Thus it is critical that the state partner with local governments to address these issues. Our jails are increasingly serving as the state’s primary mental health centers. County and city
governments have been forced to provide critical behavioral health services to people in jails, in
part because the Martinez Administration decimated the state’s behavioral health system. As explained in answers below, we must invest in a statewide behavioral health system that provides effective treatment for mental illness and addiction throughout the state.
Prison closings are an important economic issue. In a number of small New Mexico
communities, jails and prisons are among the largest employers, and closure can be a major blow.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to these issues. It requires working closely with local
leaders and community stakeholders while targeting economic development resources and job training
to create sustainable jobs in the area. But running jails and prisons is not an economic
development strategy; we need to diversify New Mexico’s economy to provide good job opportunities
throughout the state and ensure that communities facing the closure of a jail or
prison has resources to help people transition to alternative good-paying jobs.
Q: Do you support legislation, such as decriminalization of drugs, which would reduce the
MLG: I believe that numerous strategies can help reduce the number of people incarcerated in New
Mexico, including investment in on our children’s education, economic development strategies and a
strong evidence-based behavioral health system which are discussed in more detail below. I support
decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana use, and believe our
law enforcement efforts should focus on those selling and transporting drugs, not those using or
possessing them. Although I support legalization of recreational marijuana with certain public
safety protections and protections for our medical cannabis program, the criminal justice impact of
New Mexico’s drug problem cannot be addressed just through decriminalization; other crimes are
sometimes committed when someone is under the influence of drugs and people with substance use
disorders need good evidence-based treatment. Thus, as explained more below, where possible,
non-violent drug users should be diverted into evidence-based treatment programs, rather than incarcerated.
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
MLG: We need an administration that is prepared to lead improvements across the criminal justice
system, not just focus on prosecution and punishment. Our crime rate is completely unacceptable.
Our state and local governments need to work together collaboratively. We need funding for more
officers and training, including community-based policing. Strong and adequately funded prosecution
is necessary to ensure that we are able to hold criminals accountable and fight for New Mexico, but
it is just one piece of the puzzle. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
published a study on the increase in mass incarceration in the United States and found that longer
criminal sentences do not work as a crime control measure unless they focus on very dangerous and high-propensity repeat
I’ll appoint leadership in the New Mexico Department of Corrections who are focused on
building a program that ensures safety and security but also prioritizes providing prisoners with
the health care, educational and vocational training resources necessary to succeed after
prison, keeping our communities safer and saving money in the long run. Preventing re-offense
is critical to bringing crime rates back down.
We also need a judicial system that is funded at the level necessary to process cases in a timely
manner. Though the current administration has largely focused on prosecutors, pay for judges,
public defenders, and court programs are also important. I’ll support the pay increases and
administrative resources these institutions need to do their jobs effectively.
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?
MLG: Many criminals pose a danger to public safety and incarceration of some people always will be
necessary to protect our communities. In addition to providing drug and alcohol treatment to
nonviolent offenders, many states and communities are re-investing resources that reduce
incarceration--and save money--while protecting public safety. New Mexico should invest in such
evidence-based community programs that reduce recidivism and help people become
productive members of their communities. One such promising example is Colorado’s Work and Gain
Education and Employment Skills (WAGEES) program that provides educational, vocational and
occupational training to people about to re-enter the community.2 I also support expanding access
to and support for pre-trial diversion, drug courts, and veterans courts
throughout New Mexico and addressing barriers to participating in those programs. I will be a
partner with local law enforcement and elected officials to support efforts they believe will work
best in their own communities.
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?
MLG: Anyone who has ever been the victim of a crime, or had a family member impacted by violence
knows the feeling of helplessness and many believe that their voices are not being heard in the
process. Our current criminal justice system has a profound impact on these families and
communities. I want to make sure that these people have a voice in developing effective
policies by listening to their input at the legislative and executive level as we reform criminal
justice in New Mexico. I also support evidence-based community-based policing to help
increase trust between law enforcement and communities around New Mexico and help reduce
Q: How would you ensure that policy decisions are evidence based and data driven, rather than
subject to the whims of the public?
MLG: I am strongly committed to evidence-based policymaking across government. We must be
particularly careful when we enact policies in response to a specific crime, a specific type of
crime, or crime wave simply by increasing punishments. Time and again, these sorts of measures have
been shown to increase incarceration without improving public safety. As Governor, I’ll ensure that
crime bills are responsive to public safety needs in an evidenced- based manner. We have to be good
stewards of the taxpayer’s money. Spending funds on longer sentences that do not make our
communities safer takes resources from programs that can help prevent crimes.
Earlier this year, New Mexico’s broken parole system received national attention
Q: What would you do as governor to fix these issues?
MLG: New Mexico’s in-house parole program costs taxpayers more than $10 million a year. This is
not only a financial issue but one of justice and public safety. New Mexicans should be able to
serve parole in their communities, and we should invest the funds used to continue
incarcerating these people into appropriate housing and community-based programs that will
help them re-enter the community.
Q: Do you support legislation addressing problems with parole, such as former SB 216
Parole Board Procedures and SB 116 Medical/Geriatric Parole?
MLG: SB216 passed with broad bipartisan support for important fixes to NM’s parole system,
streamlining the process while prioritizing public safety. While I have some concerns about the
bill’s conflict with other laws or the constitution, I would support similar legislation.
I’ve spent 30 years fighting for the rights of the elderly. I support the ability of chronically
disabled and terminally ill New Mexicans who don’t pose a risk to themselves or society to apply
for and receive parole.
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?
MLG: Yes. While punishment for crimes is appropriate, I believe that once people have served their
sentences, they should have good opportunities to return to the community and live and work
productively as contributing members of their families and communities. Expungement
processes for some crimes are one important piece of this effort, making it easier for former
prisoners to apply for jobs and housing and help support and take care of their families. We also
have to ensure prisoners have access to job training and other opportunities during and after
incarceration in order to connect them with work. New Mexico should provide support to local
and state entities to provide the training and job connections.
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?
MLG: I support fair hiring practices that help people move on after they have paid their debts to
society and served their time. New Mexico should pass expungement laws for certain crimes,
and I’ll continue to support fair chance employment on state hiring.
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?
MLG: We cannot incarcerate our way out of our drug problem in New Mexico. And we must stop
expecting our counties and jails to serve as our primary community behavioral health centers.
New Mexico needs an effective statewide strategy that focuses on prevention, treatment, and
community supports to help people recover from drug and alcohol addiction and lead productive engaged lives. We must invest in treatment, not incarceration of nonviolent offenders, including
transitional housing. We must increase support for drug courts and other diversion programs,
get people immediately into behavioral health treatment when they re-enter the community, and
increase the use of peer counselors. We need to leverage Medicaid and other funds in order to
provide evidence-based long-term treatment and rehabilitation services to New Mexicans
across the state. We know that punitive approaches to substance use disorder don’t work, and
we need to move forward with real solutions. I support the New Mexico Association of Counties’
recent report and recommendations on Improving Transition from Detention to the Community
for Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder.3
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?
MLG: I support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana use; I also
support the LEAD program. I support diversion programs wherever they are shown to effectively
reduce addiction and improve public safety, and save taxpayers money. Our law enforcement
should be focused on targeting criminals who distribute these drugs, not possessors or users.
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?
MLG: Under new rules, defendants who file a motion and demonstrate the inability to pay a bail bond
may be granted relief by the court. They may still be denied release based on individual risk of
danger or flight. As governor, I will ensure that this system is being effectively and justly
implemented. If not, I’ll support statutory or rulemaking fixes. People should not be incarcerated
pending trial solely because they are poor.
Q: Do you support the bail amendment and the Supreme Court Rules? If not, how would you seek to
MLG: Along with the 87% of voters who supported this amendment, I support these rules and believe
they are for a step in the right direction towards more effective evidence-based pre-trial rules
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.
MLG: I believe that New Mexico’s crime rate is largely the result of our persistent poverty, lack of
economic opportunity, high rates of adverse childhood experiences, our significant drug
problems, and our failure to provide adequate behavioral health services throughout the state. I
also believe that local law enforcement agencies have not received the training and support
they need to work in their communities effectively to help reduce crime.
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)?
MLG: The current administration has failed to tackle the social determinants of crime and poverty. I
will push to invest in our people on all fronts. We need to make real changes and take bold
steps to fight poverty, prevent adverse childhood experiences, combat the consequences of
those experiences, and provide families with the resources and opportunities to move out of
As Governor I’ll invest in economic development and jump start New Mexico’s economy,
increase access to child-care subsidies and build a stronger Working Families Tax Credit while
raising New Mexico’s minimum wage. I’ll also support universal early childhood education and
increase our investment in home visiting programs, school-based health centers, and programs
that target and provide services to at-risk youth. We must reduce the high rate of adverse
childhood experiences our kids face. I will also support apprenticeships, dual degree programs
and other training and educational programs that will help our kids find good paying jobs. I will
also ensure that our behavioral health system recovers from the damage done by the Martinez
administration. Every New Mexican with substance abuse issues should have access to
comprehensive, evidence-based long-term treatment programs that get real results.
With these measures to create economic security and improve the health of New Mexicans, I
know we can create a safer and stronger future for our communities and families.
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?
MLG: I am open to legislation that allows for input from New Mexico communities, experts, and police
when it comes to the deployment of military and surveillance technology. While in some cases
these technologies may be necessary, in others its use can damage relationships between law
enforcement and communities. I will also fight to ensure that such technologies are not used to
marginalize minority communities. New Mexicans deserve a voice when these sorts of
technologies are used, but I would not rule out using such technologies in some circumstances.
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
MLG: I believe that our police are most effective on the ground, working closely with the communities
they serve. While some important operations may require the use of high-powered technologies,
this should not be the normal means of police interaction with communities.
I’ll focus our law enforcement investments in our communities and technology that helps keep
officers safe without needlessly endangering vulnerable populations.
We cannot allow our law enforcement policies or practices to be used to violate constitutionally
protected civil rights and civil liberties. That includes making sure that we are not discriminating
against any racial or ethnic minorities.