HB 564 takes aim at recidivism

The New Mexico Legislature has been working for years in a bipartisan fashion on smart, cost-effective criminal justice reforms that will increase public safety by focusing on violent crimes, and ensuring swift and certain justice. It’s imperative that we continue to work together to fully fund the DA offices, public defenders and our criminal courts. We also must move toward modern, data-driven solutions and learn best practices from other states that are lowering crime.

That’s why I sponsored House Bill 564 to reduce recidivism by getting a better handle on prison admissions caused by revocations from supervision, particularly for less serious, so-called technical violations. It is a product of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and New Mexico’s work with the Council of State Governments Justice Center. This bill does not deal with those sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole, nor does it change the power and authority of the parole board in any way.

The bill is a response to the findings published in October 2018 by the Legislative Finance Committee Program Evaluation Unit called “Corrections Department – Status of Programs to Reduce Recidivism.” The study found that while the recidivism rates across the country are dropping, the recidivism rate here in New Mexico is increasing, rising to 50 percent in 2018, an 11 percent increase since 2010. It was also determined that parole revocations for technical violations related to drug use contribute to half of the recidivism rate. Approximately one-third of total prisoners admitted to the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) is due to failed drug tests or missed appointments. We’ve actually known about these problems for years, but we were unable to address them under the previous administration.

HB 564 categorizes various violations and differentiates the responses of the system, similar to having different punishments for different crimes. Now, instead of deciding between a return to prison or continuing supervision, judges and the Probation and Parole Department are provided many more options to deal proportionately with the wide array of possible violations.

For example, HB 564 allows for swift sanctions in the local jail for up to 90 days. Additionally, this legislation commits more resources and intense supervision on the front end – when offenders first get released – and incentivizes good behavior, which lowers officers’ caseloads on the back end.

HB 564 requires the NMCD to develop statewide uniformity on sanctions and incentives, which will ensure objective, consistent, proportionate responses and allow officers more discretion by distinguishing between high- and low-risk offenders. Research has shown positive reinforcements and incentives help reduce recidivism as much as or more than a sanctions-only approach. Of course, all violations are still subject to revocation.

Everyone misses appointments. Probationers should not return to prison for a missed appointment or one failed drug test. … Probation is the best opportunity the state government has to reduce recidivism and make our communities safer.

Twenty-two states have adopted similar laws, and the money we save will be much better spent on behavioral health services and substance abuse programs, which are more effective at reducing crime.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
MMA: Condit, 'Natural Born Killer,' announces retirement
Boxing/MMA
Albuquerque's Carlos Condit, among the most-watched ... Albuquerque's Carlos Condit, among the most-watched and most-admired fighters in the UFC ranks for m ...
2
Rio Rancho theater group finally premieres 'Our Town'
ABQnews Seeker
Pandemic interrupted debut of the new ... Pandemic interrupted debut of the new troupe
3
Prison gang defendant convicted of murder
ABQnews Seeker
Long-running federal racketeering case ends for ... Long-running federal racketeering case ends for Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico
4
Editorial: State-run prisons are a smart but costly course ...
Editorials
Staffing prisons is often tough. So ... Staffing prisons is often tough. So it was hoped during the administration of former Gov. Gary Johns ...
5
20th century heavyweight: Ken Burns documentary looks into life ...
Boxing/MMA
Ken Burns is one who stays ... Ken Burns is one who stays busy.During the pandemic, the acclaimed filmmaker was worki ...
6
Judge rejects challenge to NM vaccine mandate
From the newspaper
Ruling marks the latest legal victory ... Ruling marks the latest legal victory for Gov. Lujan Grisham
7
A makeover for APS board: No incumbents running this ...
ABQnews Seeker
Influential local commercial real estate group ... Influential local commercial real estate group backing three candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot
8
'Taking the reins': Samantha Fish tours after releasing 'fun ...
Entertainment
Getting ready to hit the road ... Getting ready to hit the road for tour, Samantha Fish often catches herself asking, "Are we really d ...
9
Rite of autumn: Daylong Marblefest returns after pandemic cancellation ...
Albuquerque News
Downtown Marble Brewery is bringing back ... Downtown Marble Brewery is bringing back Marblefest, its popular Oktoberfest celebration, on Sept. 1 ...