The Legislature’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee met on Wednesday to talk about bail, among other topics. According to one speaker, the high cost of bail creates a system where people who can pay are released, while people in poverty remain behind bars.
Arthur Pepin has a lot of work in front of him. He’s the director of the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Review Commission, a group tasked with figuring out how to decrease the population at the county jail.
The hole. That’s what they call it on television. It’s the mind-shattering pit fictional prisoners will do anything to avoid.
In real life, human rights advocates say New Mexico needs to cut back on using solitary confinement as a punishment method—especially for people coping with mental illnesses. Prison officials agree that it should be used less often, though most take issue with the way it’s portrayed in prison dramas.
Bernalillo County jail Chief Ramon Rustin’s resignation took effect Monday. After three years as the head of the largest jail in New Mexico, Rustin stepped down saying he needed to meet family obligations.
KUNM spoke with Rustin in February about mental health care at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
Jail staff says MDC is the largest mental health provider in the state. Chief Rustin agreed. In fact, Rustin put that as No. 2 on the list of problems at the Bernalillo County lockup. So what's No. 1? Overcrowding, he said.