SANTA FE–Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday afternoon issued an executive order directing the New Mexico Corrections Department to compile a list of incarcerated individuals who are eligible for early release. All individuals deemed by NMCD as eligible are ordered to receive a gubernatorial commutation of the remainder of their prison sentence.

The executive order’s criteria that would make an individual eligible for early release are as follows:

  • Person’s release date is no more than 30 days away o Necessary parole plan is in place
  • Person is not a sex offender o Person has not been convicted of felony DWI
  • Person is not serving for domestic abuse
  • Person is not serving for assault on a peace officer
  • Person is not serving for firearms enhancement

All eligible individuals will remain under state supervision through their previously approved parole plans which include appropriate housing and any community-based programs that are necessary. Every standard procedure that accompanies releasing an inmate will continue to be part of the process, including communication with victims. Victim notification is a priority to the department, and that will remain true throughout the early release process.

“These measures are not taken lightly. Public safety, the safety of our staff, our inmate charges, and of our institutions is of primary concern.” said Cabinet Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero. “In these unprecedented times we must take action while safeguarding our communities. Every individual considered for early release does have a stable location and will be provided with the necessary tools for successful reentry.”

“We are evaluating every tool in our toolbelt to reduce risk of transmission in our state,” the Governor said. “Public health and public safety, in this pandemic environment, go hand-in-hand. And we will work as a state to protect every population to the greatest extent that we can.”

The early release of incarcerated individuals who meet the criteria is just one of the many preventative measures put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the staff and inmate population. Some of these measures include temporary suspension of visitation, medical screening of all staff, and limiting inter-facility transfers. For an in depth look at what the department has done, please visit our website at https://cd.nm.gov/covid-19-updates/. As of today, no staff or inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

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