New Mexico representative Nate Gentry is proposing an amendment to the Children’s Code that will let local governments set curfews for youth. The proposed bill, aimed at curbing youth violence, has been receiving heavy criticism.
The Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee listened to public comment on the proposed curfew on September 24th. Youth advocates in attendance raised concerns that curfews would criminalize young people and create pathways from schools to prisons.
Selema Barisa, a fifteen-year old member of the New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community, believes implementing a curfew for minors would be an ineffective policy to reduce juvenile crime.
“Kids aren’t going to want to stay home or be home by 10 o’clock or 11 o’ clock," said Barisa. "I mean, we’re kids we should have that freedom."
The proposed amendment would allow individual New Mexican municipalities and counties to set curfew times and age ranges.
Lawmakers will not rule on the amendment until the legislature convenes in 2016.