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?

JC: Prisons and jails are tools to ensure public safety for all people across New Mexico, and should
not be viewed as an avenue for economic development or job creation. As part of my criminal justice
reform platform, I want to increase funding to police agencies across New Mexico and implement
community policing reforms. I believe with the right training and background, correctional officers
could be potential candidates for community police officers. I believe we should invest in
technical degrees and college programs that work hand-in-hand with private sector employers to
retrain workers for jobs that need to be filled in New Mexico. Additionally, I intend to spur
development in the renewable energy field and with retraining, these job opportunities could be
lucrative, not only for correctional officers, but for all New Mexicans. Detention facilities and
prisons were never meant as a means for private profit. With my legislative experience, I would
focus on creating programs that prepare convicted individuals to be contributing members of society
upon release. My prison initiative would include job training, rehabilitation and education that
provides prisoners with a sense of worth and motivation.

Q: Do you support legislation, such as decriminalization of drugs, which would reduce the inmate

I have introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana to keep non-violent offenders out of jail
and move the state toward reforming our court system so prosecutors can focus on violent crimes
instead of low-level drug offenses. As Governor, I would immediately sign decriminalization
legislation which I sponsored and passed, only to have it vetoed by Governor

Martinez. I would support rehabilitation for people who commit drug-related crimes rather than
putting them in prison for non-violent offenses. New Mexicans must also be given the opportunity to
address mental health and drug-related issues instead of being sent to prison for crimes that
relate to mental health problems.


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
crime rates?

JC: We must secure funding for our criminal justice system and implement reform that ensures consistent
and fair penalties for violent crime and policies that address the backlog in our courts. I know
increasing sentencing policies does nothing to deter crime. I have introduced legislation
to fully study our sentencing guidelines and to better understand the fiscal impact to our state of
increasing and decreasing sentences. We must implement community policing and address institutional
and structural issues which lead to crime. Our state must address the cycle of poverty, limited
availability of affordable housing opportunities, the high rate of homelessness, the failure to
adequately treat mental health issues and racial intolerance across our state. I believe we need
bold, creative solutions, which will decrease crime over the long run.

My administration will work with experts in the field of criminal justice reform, including the
member organizations of New Mexico SAFE, to implement new policies and legislation to reform our
criminal justice system. We must also implement a community policing model that focuses
on fighting rising crime rates by increasing patrol units on the streets, while providing police
with improved resources and training. As a lawyer, I have seen first-hand that a mentality of
increasing penalties simply for the sake of doing so, has not only failed to keep our communities
safe, but has failed victims, defendants and the entire criminal justice system. I will appoint
leaders to my cabinet and administration who are experts in the field of criminal justice reform.
We can make New Mexico a leader in ensuring our communities are safe while New Mexicans are also
treated fairly, justly and in accordance to our constitution.

I believe by prioritizing violent crimes and removing the focus on low level drug offenders, police
and courts can focus on solving the serious crimes that plague our communities. By expanding and
enhancing access to treatment and rehabilitation, my administration would give those suffering from
mental health and drug addiction the ability to get treatment and, ultimately, deter drug-related

Q: What alternative 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?

JC: I strongly believe that reducing crime goes hand-in-hand with education. We must invest in people’s
futures by investing in education and outreach programs that will keep our youth off the

streets. As Governor, we will secure funding for community programs that keep our youth engaged in
programs that enrich their lives. I will strengthen and adequately fund diversion and treatment
programs as alternatives to arrest and incarceration.

I know crime is a societal ill that must be addressed at the root of the problem. Economic
development and job creation can go a long way in deterring crime. By helping New Mexicans escape
the cycle of poverty, we can give them new opportunities and chances to increase their quality of
life rather than turn to crime in the first place.

I will also work with our local communities to develop a comprehensive approach to end homelessness
in New Mexico. By looking at best-practices implemented in other states, we can offer opportunities
which allow individuals to secure safe housing, health care services and employment related
services to help them get back on their feet.

Additionally, I will support a community policing initiative that works at the local level to give
the people of New Mexico an opportunity to work together, collectively in developing best
practices. This means working with leaders in criminal justice reform to offer and implement
policies that have been proven to work, rather than increasing penalties that only give the
allusion that we are tough on crime.

Similar to New Mexico SAFE, I believe we need to better analyze and understand crime reform
policies before implementing them. This means studying the impact they have on our safety,
communities and finances. For this reason, I have introduced legislation to study and analyze the
fiscal impact of any legislation that would increase or decrease criminal penalties.


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?

JC: I would give New Mexicans a stake in developing policies, procedures and initiatives that implement
community policing efforts. When we develop and implement community policing reforms, the people
must have a voice in that process. This also includes legislative hearings across the state,
funding and promoting police oversight boards and giving local communities the authority to
implement policies that directly address the needs of their citizens.

Q: How would you ensure that policy decisions are evidence based and data driven, rather than subject
to the whims of the public?

JC: First and foremost, I will not treat the Governor’s office as a stepping stone to a higher office.
I will make the hard choices that are in the long-term interest of our state because it’s the right
thing to do, not because some random poll indicates it should be done. New Mexico has elected the
wrong leaders who have consistently had their eye on higher office. I will hire experts in the
field who understand data and hard evidence to implement our policies, not political appointees

who are at the mercy of politics and polls. Again, I am also committed to working with experts like
the Arnold Foundation, the ACLU of New Mexico and New Mexico SAFE members to study best practices.
My door will always be open to collaborate as partners, not adversaries. Due to the fact that I am
primarily self-funding my campaign, I am not beholden to special interests or donors, only to the
people of New Mexico, which will allow me to focus on reforming our broken state and the criminal
justice system.


Earlier this year, New Mexico’s broken parole system received national attention

Q: What would you do as Governor to fix these issues?

JC: This is an issue that needs to be addressed directly through funding and a strict adherence to the
civil rights all New Mexicans deserve. If the court issues a parole date, the system must do
everything in its power to ensure that the individuals’ civil rights are upheld and people are
released on the corresponding date. I support the condition that parolees must obtain a place to
live upon release, but we should not leave them to the mercy of having to live in a privately owned
and operated halfway house. We must take measures to fund transitional housing that will assist
parolees in obtaining work and help them with necessary life-skills to adjust into being a
constructive member of society.

Q: Do you support legislation addressing problems with parole, such as former SB 216
Parole Board Procedures and SB 116 Medical/Geriatric Parole?

JC: Unlike other candidates, I have a clear and consistent record of supporting these efforts at the
state level. I voted in support of SB216 and would work with the legislature to have this measure
implemented into law. As a member of the NM Senate Judiciary Committee, I voted in favor of SB116.
I am endorsed by Senator Ortiz y Pino as we have collaborated on many important pieces of
legislation, including these efforts that address problems with our state parole system.


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?

JC: I absolutely support second chances, and I would work with advocates and my legislative colleagues
to advance policies to support second chances for New Mexicans. As Senator, I have consistently
supported expungement legislation including SB294, the Criminal Record Expungement Act. As
Governor, I would immediately sign this legislation and other expungement efforts to give New
Mexicans the opportunity to successfully move on from criminal charges. I would support policies
which would prohibit employers or landlords from discriminating against applicants for non-violent
crimes. I would also support evidence-based programming legislation, mandating the Corrections
Department to assess the needs of each individual inmate and set best practices to give them
opportunities to succeed upon release
from prison. I will support educational and job training initiatives that give non-violent
offenders a chance at employment and financial security when they re-enter the workforce.

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?)

JC: I have voted for and support expungement legislation, specifically SB294. As Governor, I would
immediately sign this legislation.

We are only hindering progress in our communities by making criminals feel like outcasts their
entire lives. I support legislation that assists individuals in rebuilding a new life and allowing
them to contribute to their communities. If legislation was placed in front of me that was properly
vetted and evidence-based ensuring lower recidivism rates for individuals who re-enter society, I
would support that legislation. Although I have voted against “Ban the Box” legislation in the
past, I would consider legislation with certain amendments giving employers the ability to fully
vet candidates for their specific industry.


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 in low-income families, which have loved ones struggling with addiction?

JC: The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and I will ensure full funding for rehabilitation
resources, providing access to effective long-term recovery and rehabilitation programs throughout
the state. We must also provide proper healthcare and funding to address mental illness. Our
Medicaid expansion approach works to expand resources for mental health and rehabilitation
throughout the state, reduce the overall costs to hospitals and individuals for uninsured care, and
expand programs throughout the state, improving the health and lives of all New Mexicans. We will
be proactive in providing preventative care and early diagnosis for those struggling with illness
and addiction so they do not become prey to pharmaceuticals or other illicit drugs leading to

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?

JC: I support alternatives to incarceration that give individuals the ability to seek treatment for
drug-related non-violent crimes and would implement best practices to give alternatives to
incarceration. I have sponsored and passed legislation to decriminalize marijuana and would
immediately sign this legislation. I have voted for and written legislation including HB144 to
expand and enhance drug courts. As Governor, I will work to improve the effectiveness of our drug
courts and fully fund them to maximize their use throughout the state. By working with experts in
the field, I will identify shortcomings of our drug courts and implement new policies to ensure
they meet the needs of individuals who need therapy, drug treatment and support. Our

drug courts must be structured as a tool to help New Mexicans treat addiction, and not simply
punish them for a mental health issue.


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?

JC: While I support bail reform efforts, I believe we need more funding to fully vet violent offenders
who are eligible to be released back into their community. By providing courts and prosecutors the
funding and resources they need, I believe we can strike this balance, while ensuring civil rights
and the safety of our communities are protected.

I have also written legislation, HB141, to expand the legal services available to low-income New
Mexicans. As Governor, I would give the Public Defenders Offices the money, personnel and resources
they need to defend New Mexicans. This includes their right to be presumed
innocent, and free from detention while awaiting trial. I do not agree with Governor Martinez or
the bail bond industry when they argue bail reform has led to an increase in crime and violence.
Rather, I believe we must improve the bail system to ensure the majority of defendants are not
detained while awaiting trial, and still allow judges and prosecutors the flexibility to keep the
most violent offenders detained.

Q: Do you support the bail amendment and the Supreme Court Rules? If not, how would you seek to change

JC: While I recused myself from the vote on the bail amendment due to my private law practice having
cases in front of the State Supreme Court, I believe a person’s financial situation should not
determine whether or not they go to jail. I would work with my legislative colleagues to make
necessary improvements to the bail reform measure and the Supreme Court rules to be just and


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?

JC: There is an intricate web of underlying problems that lead to crime: poverty, lack of education,
and drug addiction are just a few. Those who do not have access to quality jobs and/or housing
often have not had access to quality education and unable to assist their family in receiving a
quality education. We must eradicate these issues by targeting the source and investing in economic
diversity that creates jobs, education reform, increased health-care access, decriminalization of
marijuana and properly funded community health programs from youth and adults.

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)?

JC: We need new ideas and approaches rather than the same failing policies that have unjustly
imprisoned people and have increased chances of recidivism. I support comprehensive,
community-based crime reform by focusing on larger systemic and structural issues like
unemployment, poverty, education, healthcare and gun-control. We must reform the economy be
enacting a funding model that maximizes efficiency and brings jobs to our communities to reduce
unemployment and poverty. We will do this by investing in infrastructure and
business-incentives statewide, as well as workforce training programs that pave the way for
sustainable, middle-class jobs. We will invest in education through increased funding and resources
that provide quality early childhood education and fulfill higher learning initiatives. I support
medical expansion to programs for vulnerable populations and I support gun-control that increases
intensive background checks and removes weapons from violent offenders.


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 statewide 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?

JC: I would support legislation that gives local communities the ability to approve or disapprove of
certain types of military equipment being used by their local police departments. I would implement
policies that require law enforcement to obtain warrants before using invasive surveillance
technologies, such as Stingrays, ISMI catchers or other similar technologies. I would also ensure
the Department of Public Safety is vigorously overseeing the procurement of military equipment from
the federal government to ensure they are properly used and acquired. Under the direction of the
Department of Public Safety, the LESO officer for the state would ensure any equipment obtained
would be in the best interest of the community and would not rubber-stamp approvals for the
procurement of military equipment. When possible, I would mandate the LESO state coordinator engage
and interact with communities when police departments request such equipment and ensure law
enforcement have the proper safeguards in place to ensure proper use. We must acknowledge certain
equipment serves a vital law enforcement purpose and can protect our first responders during
violent confrontations. That being said, this transfer of equipment must be closely audited and
include a transparent process. I have been a leader in opening up our government and making our
state more transparent; I believe the way we police our communities should be no different. I have
passed legislation to increase access to public records, open legislative committees and budget
hearings and to make the government more accountable to the people. I am the only candidate with a
proven track record of expanding transparency and accountability across the board. As Governor, I
would continue this practice.

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 military technologies?

JC: I would require that police obtain warrants for surveillance technology and disclose possession of
the technology to the public. I would also ensure strict oversight of the use of these technologies
by the Secretary of Public Safety. I have taken a hard stance against militarizing our border. As a
Senator representing Southern New Mexico, I am against adding military personnel at our border and
I personally told this to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he visited our state. As
Governor, I would oppose the federal government's attempt to use state resources to militarize our
border. Our proximity to Mexico provides cultural, community and
economic benefits which must be maximized.