Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

N.M. Could Look to Texas Plan for Upgrading Jails.

Byline: Stories by Mike Gallagher Journal Investigative Reporter

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This is the last of a four-part series

* Setting minimum statewide standards for prison operations and oversight could solve some problems

New Mexico jails have been plagued by rapes, assaults, escapes and lawsuits. Some are woefully understaffed and underfunded. Most are ill equipped to deal with prisoners suffering from mental disabilities or illnesses.

There is growing sentiment that something needs to be done at the state level.

State Corrections Secretary Rob Perry said in an interview that New Mexico needs to look at setting minimum standards for jails and prisons. Some leading Democratic legislators say they are open to discussing the idea.

More than 30 states have minimum jail standards and inspection mechanisms.

Texas has a commission that sets standards, inspects jails and has strong enforcement powers. California has a board that sets standards and inspects jails, but it has no enforcement authority. …

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