NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A report by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee shows the number of incarcerated men and women eligible for release across the state’s prisons has grown from 75 inmates in April to more than 100 at the end of May. 

Carmelina Hart, Public Information Manager with the New Mexico Corrections Department says holding inmates eligible for parole past their release date is nothing new. “In-house parole is when parole time is served inside the prison due to a person not having a safe and viable release plan,” said Hart.

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Hart says there are several factors as to why an inmate may be required to serve their parole behind bars and public safety is at the top of the list. “Such as adequate housing, employment, treatment, and our classification and reentry field staff work together to find a safe post-release housing and treatment option for the inmate,” added Hart.

The ACLU says that approach doesn’t work when it comes to helping inmates transition back into society. “The state purpose of having parole at all is to help people to reintegrate it to give them a push where they should have support and resources. That purpose is not being served if someone is serving their parole while still in the prison walls,” said ACLU Staff Attorney, Lalita Moskowitz. The ACLU says female inmates have fewer resources available to them when they are released. The New Mexico Corrections Department says the average number of inmates eligible for release who are currently serving in-house parole across the state is 73.