A recent article from the Albuquerque Journal, titled “Returning Cons Cost Taxpayers,” detailed a potential prison crisis and a proposed response. According to a recent legislative audit, New Mexico will likely run out of prison space within the next decade, and it will be forced either to expand existing prisons or build a new one. New Mexico can address the situation by lowering recidivism rates. There are proven alternatives to the traditional methods currently employed that will both reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars.

From the article:

Legislative auditors said the Corrections Department could reduce recidivism by focusing on programs with a proven success record, such as drug treatment, vocational and adult education courses and correctional industries that offer inmates a chance to work.

. . .

The state’s budget squeeze has added to the prison system’s problems. There have been cuts to successful court-supervised drug treatment programs, which are intended to help keep offenders out of prison, auditors said.

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel expressed support for the audit in a statement to the committee. He said the department was taking steps to lower recidivism without jeopardizing public safety.

As reform is discussed, it is important to remember the expected cost-savings of the programs. Programs that reduce recidivism and save taxpayer money are beneficial and support for these reforms should be obvious.