SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Criminals getting easier probation, it sounds bad in a state where crime is such a problem. However, lawmakers say it’s a way to track the worst of the worst better and give small-time criminals a second chance.
This overhaul has bipartisan support and lawmakers say it’s time to reevaluate the state’s probation system. “What it does is try to lower recidivism while lowering crime and so we want to do is not send people back to prison if they are on the right track, even if they’re breaking the rules, as long as they’re not breaking the law, said Rep. Moe Maestas.
Under House Bill 263, if a person is on supervised probation and after three years of good behavior, they could do the remaining probation unsupervised. This is so the state can focus on more dangerous offenders.
Another key area is if a person makes a mistake like missing a drug test appointment, they won’t get sent back to prison. Lawmakers say as long as that person isn’t committing more crimes during probation, that shouldn’t qualify them to go back to prison.
“We’re not trying to design the system where we are letting criminals outside of prison, that’s not the idea,” said Rep. Alonzo Baldonado. “The idea is to make it streamline where you’re really focusing on the issues that matter to people and trying to get people back on their feet and back to work back in society.”
These new probations and parole changes do not include people who have committed sex crimes, human trafficking or violent crimes. Although this is being heard in a House Committee Monday afternoon, the sponsors of the bill say they will most likely vote on this Wednesday.