Media Contact

Davida Gallegos,

February 11, 2022

SANTA FE, NM – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is calling on lawmakers to pass SB 43, the Second Chance Bill, without amendments. This urgently needed bill will abolish juvenile life without parole in New Mexico and create early eligibility for parole for those serving long adult sentences for crimes committed as children. The bill will bring New Mexico into compliance with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and with a growing number of states that have already passed similar legislation.


SB 43 does not guarantee release to people who become eligible for review. Instead, it creates an opportunity for those eligible to demonstrate rehabilitation and to show that they deserve a second chance at life outside of prison walls. The parole board, with its unique law enforcement and community safety experience, will make the ultimate decision as to who has been sufficiently rehabilitated to return home safely to their community. 


Already 25 states and the District of Columbia — including our neighbors in Texas, Colorado, and Utah — have enshrined in their laws the belief in the potential for rehabilitation and growth in children. There is broad public support and momentum for a legal system that recognizes children are more than the worst thing they’ve ever done. That’s why dozens of organizations across the ideological spectrum are working hand in hand with families directly impacted by juvenile crime to pass SB 43.


“There was a time when New Mexico was a national leader in equity-based juvenile justice,” said Denali Wilson, staff attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico. “Our state was one of the first to protect children from the death penalty and to provide for discretion and sentencing in the rare cases where children were exposed to adult sentences. However, we are now behind more than half of the country. It is time for New Mexico to do what is right, just, and compassionate by passing the Second Chance Bill.”


The ACLU of New Mexico, along with directly impacted families and our coalition partners, will continue to support efforts to get SB 43, without amendments, across the finish line.