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FAMM supports New Mexico’s medical and geriatric parole bill
SANTA FE – New Mexico’s State House and Senate have both passed a bill that would fix their flawed system for granting medical and geriatric parole.
If signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, the clearer and more efficient system would help improve New Mexico’s D+ grade on the FAMM Compassionate Release Report Card.
“A prison that looks like a nursing home or intensive care unit is a public safety failure,” said Molly Gill, FAMM’s Vice President of Policy. “Elderly and very sick people in prison are the least dangerous but most expensive to incarcerate. New Mexico’s current medical and geriatric parole process releases less than a dozen people each year. While we would prefer that nobody be excluded from parole eligibility, this bill has essential improvements to the current system.”
The bill includes the following improvements:
• The age of eligibility for geriatric parole would drop from 65 to 55
• The timeframe for handling terminal illness cases would be expedited
• Candidates for parole would be able to have their families, attorneys or New Mexico Corrections Division (NMCD) employees file the application for them
• The NMCD would have to identify people who are eligible and tell them how to apply
• Nobody would be denied parole due solely to the nature of their offense (those convicted of first-degree murder are, however, ineligible for medical or geriatric parole entirely)
• Denied applications would be appealable in court
• There would be a presumption of release for the elderly and ill unless there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the person is a public safety risk.
For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.
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