These peace officers put their lives on the line every single day, working within some of the most dangerous and negative environments and circumstances a man or woman could choose to work within our country. As the department has significantly decreased its use of segregation, increased congregative movement and social interactions for inmates, and increased the delivery of educational/vocational programming, although important and appropriate, it has also simultaneously has increased risk within our prisons. With increased risk for both inmates and staff, our correctional officers are the first responders for inmates in need. On the other hand, there are no first responders for the correctional officer. When an officer is assaulted inside a facility, there is no 911.
Perhaps even more importantly, the daily effectiveness of our state’s prisons is dependent upon precise and repeated attention to detail when line officers carry out their responsibilities, particularly security posts and rounds carried out within our state’s prisons, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week. Fatigue and low staff morale, resulting from significant amounts and mandatory overtime cause correctional officers who are on duty to not be at their best performance. Working mandatory overtime can cause correctional officers to experience sleep deprivation. Fatigue from long shifts can reduce attention to detail and affect critical thinking and performance.
According to the New Mexico Sentencing Commission Prison Population Forecast published in July of 2015, NMCD will experience growth of 1.2% in the male and 15.6% in the female population in FY17 over FY15. NMCD will be at 98% capacity by July of 2016. In your deliberations this session, we also respectfully ask that you consider that the department has been underfunded for two consecutive years regarding the forecasts of this independent research and has consequently operated in a fiscal deficit.
Due to the ambiguity of both the inmate growth projections provided by the NM Sentencing Commission and the cost to treat Hepatitis C, which varies depending on type, the Department has requested a supplemental appropriation for this purpose in FY16.
CONTACT: LUCY RIVER, POLICY & LEGISLATIVE OUTREACH DIRECTOR: 505.259.4743 OR LUCYA.RIVER@STATE.NM.US