Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

State Prisons Face Bed Shortage.(Final)

Byline: Jeff Jones Journal Staff Writer

Inmates May Get Early Releases

SOCORRO -- The state prison system will soon face a massive shortage of bed space unless it changes the way it does business, New Mexico corrections chief Joe R. Williams warned Thursday.

Those changes could mean letting prisoners with a short time left on their sentences get out early, as well as possible changes in sentencing laws, the corrections secretary said.

Williams told a Legislative Finance Committee meeting at New Mexico Tech that his department is projecting a 465-bed shortage in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Williams said 365 of those inmates could be housed at two privately run jails -- in Torrance County and Santa Fe County -- that already lease bed space to his department. …

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