What kind of laws actually make us safer?
In an effort to focus on sensible strategies to increase public safety in our state, New Mexico SAFE has created a litmus test to grade reforms. The idea is to spark a reality-based discussion about what laws will actually help keep New Mexicans safer, and what ones won’t. Based on the acronym “SAFE,” the litmus test has four parts:
S - SAFER for CHILDREN and FAMILIES
Tougher penalties simply do not correlate with a decrease in crime. Instead, imprisonment traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and communities. Investing in proven strategies that support families makes us safer.
A - APOLITICAL
Many politicians use tough-on-crime legislation to appeal to voters’ fears with little thought put into whether or not the proposed legislation actually works. Serious legislation must address the problem of crime and public safety, not advance a candidate’s political agenda.
F - FISCALLY-RESPONSIBLE
For the last four decades, this country has relentlessly expanded the size of our criminal justice system, needlessly throwing away too many lives and wasting trillions of taxpayer dollars. New Mexico can’t afford tough-on-crime laws that don’t increase safety.
E - EVIDENCE-BASED
Evidence shows that tough-on-crime policies do not make communities safer, instead they increase racial and economic disparity and fail to deter crime. We need proven solutions that actually work and are supported by data.