Blueprint for Smart Justice New Mexico
Over the past five decades, the United States has dramatically increased its reliance on the criminal justice system as a way to respond to drug addiction, mental illness, poverty, and broken schools. As a result, the United States today incarcerates more people, in both absolute numbers and per capita, than any other nation in the world. Millions of lives have been upended and families torn apart. This mass incarceration crisis has transformed American society, damaged families and communities, and wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars.
The blueprint for Smart Justice in New Mexico includes an overview of the state's incarcerated populations, including analysis on who is being sent to jail and prison and the racial disparities that are present, what drives people into the system, how long people spend behind bars, and why people are imprisoned for so long. It offers a calculation on the impact of certain reforms by 2025 on racial disparities in the prison population, fiscal costs, and overall prison population and progress towards a 50% decarceration goal.
The blueprint shows that if our state were to carry out reforms listed in the report, New Mexico would save $424,830,081. This money could be reinvested in schools, services, and other resources that would strengthen communities and increase public safety.