NM Governor Richardson Takes on Prison Reform
“I’m going to make prison reform a priority in the January session — treatment, rehabilitation, funding issues. A lot of those will be at the forefront,” [Gov. Bill] Richardson said recently.
While New Mexico’s prisons aren’t as overcrowded as they are in other states, the state’s system still grapples with a host of issues, including: recidivism, or the number of offenders who return to lockup within 36 months after their release; offender drug use; and the difficulty offenders face in finding gainful employment when they return to society.
According to a report issued by the last year’s Prison Reform Task Force, the problems are often interconnected.
Currently, New Mexico’s 47 percent recidivism rate is lower than the national average of 52 percent, according to the New Mexico Sentencing Commission.
But at nearly half, that rate has prompted the governor and others to acknowledge the importance of slowing down what some call the “revolving door” of offenders who wind up back behind bars.
One strategy already identified is increasing treatment of drug addictions as an alternative to incarcerating drug offenders."
The article goes on to discuss treatment courts, restorative justice.