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Increasing Local Involvement in New Mexico Prison Reform and Offender Reentry Initiatives: Key Elements in Enhanced Public Safety and Recidivism Reduction

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2009
15 pages
The New Mexico Governor's Task Force on Prison Reform presents its thoughts and recommendations about increasing the involvement of local communities and agencies in prison reform and reentry initiatives.
The Task Force's considerations on this topic were guided by two basic parameters. First, no recommendation should undermine public safety. Second, no recommendation should result in an increased financial burden to the State. The report considers the most important recommendation to be that local reentry councils be created in key communities in the State. The councils would be composed of representatives of government and non-government agencies and organizations that have a particular expertise or interest in offender reentry and reform. These councils will augment the role of the Corrections Department in all the critical areas related to recidivism reduction, including helping to provide information, resources, and coordination in the areas of alcohol and substance abuse treatment, education, employment, family services, gender-specific programming, and other issues related to reducing recidivism risk for persons returning to their communities from prison. The Task Force noted and credited the services to ex-inmates and their families provided by the many volunteers from faith-based and other organizations throughout the State that are helping ex-inmates adjust successfully after returning to their communities. Other Task Force recommendations are to launch public education campaigns about reentry and prison reform; enhance the role of faith-based services for ex-inmates; expand the use of drug courts as a means of decreasing prison populations; increase the number of community mentoring programs for ex-inmates; concentrate community resources on ex-inmates identified as high risk and high need; consider implementing an early controlled release pilot project for non-violent women prisoners; and increase the availability of transitional and supportive living programs for formerly incarcerated persons.