Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Prison Officials Again Ponder Overcrowding.(Final)(Editorial)


Less than five years after completion of a huge expansion of prisons in the state, Corrections Secretary Joe R. Williams is warning of a shortage of prison beds within the year.

Any way you cut it, New Mexicans are about to face the same dilemma that led former Gov. Gary Johnson to entice private prisons to the state in the 1990s: Do we build more prisons to house our growing prison population, or do we put fewer convicts behind bars?

Either solution has downsides.

Building and running more prisons, whether directly or through private prisons, is expensive. Housing a prisoner averages nearly $35,000 a year in a state-run prison, and more than $25,000 a year in a private lockup. …

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