Reducing Crime & Making
New Mexico Safer
Gain a Better Understanding of Crime Legislation
Crime is complex because it can be difficult to know the impact of a law until it’s been enacted. Knowing this, we took a deep look at some of the unintended consequences of certain bills to be sure that we’re looking at metrics we believe will help guide us in choosing which legislation will make a positive impact on New Mexico’s criminal justice system as a whole. We spoke to various experts on crime, including:
– District Judges
– US Attorneys
– US Marshalls Office
– Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
– Nonprofits with a Focus on Reducing Crime
– Defense Attorneys & More
As a result of these conversations, we were able to identify common ground principles, which helped our diverse board choose meaningful metrics to focus on when selecting the legislation to grade our elected officials.
Violent Crime & Property Crime Rates
New Mexico is ranked #1 in the nation for our property crime rate and ranked #2 in the nation for our violent crime rate. In fact, New Mexico’s violent crime rate is 89.7% higher than the national average and the property crime rate is 52.5% higher than the national average.
Substance Abuse Deaths
According to the various experts we’ve spoken to, violent and property crime rates are connected to substance abuse. In fact, 65% of incarcerated individuals meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder while an overwhelming 80% of just criminal offenders abuse drugs or alcohol. The relationship between drugs and crime is complicated and while not every person who uses drugs commits crimes, and not every criminal uses drugs, experts believe there is a strong correlation between the two. When an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it significantly impairs their ability to make good decisions. While not everyone will self-report if they are suffering with this type of addiction, the Center for Disease Control and prevention can more accurately track deaths related to these epidemics.
Recidivism Rate and Parole Completion Rate
Recidivism is the tendency for a convicted criminal to reoffend and as we’ve seen in the news there are many people who end up repeatedly committing crimes. We’ve coupled the recidivism rate with the parole completion rate because each indicates if the criminal justice system helped get someone on the right path. The total number of completions used for this metric indicates the number of people who successfully completed their paroles without violations, new sentencing or other complications. Focusing on legislation that would improve these two metrics would decrease our crime rate in New Mexico.
Change in Incarcerati on Rate
This metric measures the compound annual growth rate of those in state and federal prisons per 100,000 people. The U.S. imprisons more of its citizens than any other developed nation. The U.S. has about 5% of the world’s population, but approximately 25% of the world’s prisoners. Currently New Mexico is 44th in the nation for annual growth rate of prisoners according to the US and News Report. For many of those incarcerated individuals, the prison can become a revolving door and many experts have been critical of whether our correctional facilities actually “set someone on the right path following their time served.”
Did You Know
- Challenges former inmates face upon re-entry into society can hinder them from getting their life back on track.
- According to the surgeon general’s 2016 report on addiction, only 10% of people suffering from a drug use disorder get specialty treatment.
- A series of law enforcement and sentencing policy changes of the “tough on crime” era resulted in dramatic growth in incarceration
New Mexico Crime Statistics
A Snapshot of How We’re Doing
#2 in the Nation for Violent Crime
65% of all incarcerated individuals meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder
12th worst in the country for opioid deaths
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