A List of Private Prisons in The State of New Mexico

Here’s a list of private prisons in the state of New Mexico with prison trends in the state. Read to know!

A List of Private Prisons in The State of New Mexico
A List of Private Prisons in The State of New Mexico

New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the United States of America, situated in the Southwestern region of the U.S. New Mexico has an incarceration rate of 733 per 100,000 people, including prisons, jails, detention centers, and justice facilities for adults.

The U.S. states, mainly Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Montana depend highly on private prisons for housing prisoners. Thus, the list of private prisons in the state of New Mexico allows you to understand the prison situation in the state.

New Mexico has 10 correctional facilities operated throughout the state, while two are privately run. The state's largest correctional facility, "Lea County Correctional Facility," with about 1200 prisoners, is privately owned.

At the same time, statistics based on July 2023 year represent 13,392 prisoners in New Mexico, 8.5 percent of the total prison population currently in the United States.

13,000 people from New Mexico are incarcerated, serving their time in different facilities across the state. 6,100 of the detained individuals are in local jails, while 5,200 are imprisoned in state jails. Furthermore, federal prisons have 1,700 offenders.

Other facilities like youth facilities, involuntary action, and Indian Country keep 270, 40, and 130 inmates respectively. 10,000 of all the imprisoned individuals are under probation, whereas 2,400 are under parole.

Jail and prison incarceration rates have increased constantly in the past years and continue to increase. Trends show a high number of incarcerated individuals followed by American Indian, Hispanic, and White offenders.

The Rise of Private Prisons in New Mexico

New Mexico stands dominant in the private prison industry. State officials associate the New Mexico state's massive use of private prisons with its political history and have proclaimed the use of private prisons to the fact that as of January 2021. Private prisons held about forty-six percent of the state's prisoners in their facilities.

According to The Sentencing Project, New Mexico's private prison population has increased significantly over the past two decades. It grew 39% from 2000 to 2017, surpassing the overall prison population's growth of nearly 8%. Comparatively, in 2019, private prisons held about half of New Mexico's prisoners in their facilities, as reported by The Sentencing Project.

Meanwhile, some states in the U.S. have claimed a decline in their private prison population and have ceased the operations of private prison facilities since 2012. However, New Mexico is still dependent on private prisons.

Impact of Private Prisons on the Criminal Justice System:

According to Kara Gotsch, director of strategic initiatives at The Sentencing Project, private prisons are very particular to the state's criminal justice system. It has shaped the system since the private facilities became prominent in the '90s under the Republican Government in New Mexico by Gary Johnson (A former Governor of New Mexico).

Gotsch's 2018 report claims that private corporations, including CoreCivic and The GEO Group, have contributed to New Mexico's political leaders to secure political support for the private prison industry within the state.

Therefore, New Mexico has witnessed a 72% growth in its private prison population since 2000. Gotcha sums up that this is extremely significant, considering that crime in the U.S. has lowered during the past 25 years.

Private Prisons in New Mexico

New Mexico has a long and established dependence on private prisons more than any other state in the U.S.

The state has four private prisons, including Guadalupe County Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa, Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, Otero County Prison Facility, and Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Grants. Recently, by the end of 2021, the state has taken control of two private prisons:

The Northeast New Mexico correctional center and the Guadalupe County correctional facility, into state-run facilities; Now, both prisons are publicly operated.

This transition of prisons took place officially on November 1, 2021. It marks the end of over 30 years of privately-operated contracts by CoreCivic at the Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center and 20 years by the GEO Group at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility.

Although two other state facilities, including Lea county correctional facility and Otero county prison facility, are still privately operated; one has a contract with private operators till 2027.

List of Private Prisons in New Mexico

Currently, the list of private prisons in the state of Mexico comprises two private prison facilities, including Lea County correctional facility and Otero County prison facility.

Lea County Correctional Facility

The Lea County Correctional Facility is a 350,000-square-foot private prison operated since November 1997. It is situated on 60 acres leased from Lea County, taken over by Hobbs, New Mexico.

It is the most significant security facility contracted by Lea County to accommodate NMCD male violators. The facility has 312 staff and security personnel.

Location: 6900 West Millen, Hobbs, New Mexico

Capacity: 1200 male prisoners

Ownership and management: Correctional Properties Trust and The GEO Group

Otero County Prison Facility

The Otero County Prison facility is a privately run correctional facility, that opened in 2003. This private facility is committed to working with the New Mexico Correctional Department and housing federal prisoners of the U.S.

Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP). Otero County Prison facility also provides the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) to state prisoners.

Location: 10 McGregor Range Road Chaparral, New Mexico

Capacity: 1420 male prisoners

Ownership and management: Management & Training Corporation (MTC)

Read The Full List of Private Prisons in the State of New Jersey

Political Alternatives for Private Prisons

A New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) spokesperson affirmed that state officials abandoned a cost-benefit analysis before taking control of private prisons into the state-run.

They thought that there was a likelihood for politicians to believe that they could win progressively by discontinuing these private corporations. The state had always had a specific goal that converting privately-owned prisons to state administration tends to prioritize the safety of the prison facilities.

Getting New Mexico away from its dependence on private for-profit prison operators can offer better pay and benefits in safer facilities.

Read Top 10 Worst Prisons in the World: From the US to China to Europe

Final Words

The impact of private prisons on New Mexico's criminal justice system is undeniable. State officials advocate that private corporations have significantly lobbied and raised rents for prison facilities, reducing overdependence on private prisons.

The state has transitioned some of its privately-operated facilities into state-run prisons, influenced by factors including safety and cost-efficiency; it can lead to a more effective corrections system.

The list of private prisons in the state of New Mexico constitutes two facilities: Lea County Correctional Facility and Otero County Prison Facility.

Looking ahead, policymakers in New Mexico need to look into further alternatives to reduce their dependence on private prisons and prioritize an extensive criminal justice system.

Through investing in rehabilitation, diversion programs, and community-based solutions, the state can work towards reducing its imprisonment rates and maintaining a fairer and more equitable justice system.

By doing so, New Mexico can set an example for other states confronting similar challenges and pave the way for consequential reforms in the criminal justice system.

Read more related articles;

On this page