53rd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2017


Howie C. Morales









     WHEREAS, correctional officers and detention officers throughout New Mexico have one of the most difficult and stressful jobs; and

     WHEREAS, correctional officers and detention officers are tasked with the operation of correctional and detention facilities and are responsible for the care and custody of inmates, as well as protecting the public from incarcerated individuals; and

     WHEREAS, many of the correctional and detention facilities have unsafe conditions, with some facilities falling below the level of adequate funding; and

     WHEREAS, lack of adequate funding has led to a reduction in critical training, a lack of vitally needed equipment for officers and unsafe staffing levels, resulting in an increase in assaults by inmates on officers; and

     WHEREAS, because of high vacancy rates, with some facilities above twenty percent officer vacancy, correctional and detention officers are often forced to work mandatory sixty- to seventy-hour work weeks, which in turn has led to retention and recruitment issues and an even more hazardous work environment for the officers and support staff; and

     WHEREAS, forced mandatory overtime in such a stressful environment has a direct correlation to mental and physical fatigue, lack of focus, decreased efficiency and unsteady judgment of correctional and detention officers; and

     WHEREAS, these conditions cause officers to be less effective on the job when dealing with incidents with inmates; and

     WHEREAS, the lack of funding has a negative impact on the day-to-day mission of the officers; and

     WHEREAS, there is also serious concern for facilities that face millions of dollars in deferred maintenance; and

     WHEREAS, the conditions in many of the correctional and detention facilities across the state are reminiscent of the conditions that led to the 1980 prison riot at the penitentiary of New Mexico and incidents in other New Mexico facilities; and

     WHEREAS, current conditions demand immediate recognition of the crisis and proposed solutions;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that February 23, 2017 be declared "Correctional Officer and Detention Officer Day" in the senate; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the difficult situations correctional officers and detention officers face every day be recognized; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the governor, the corrections department and local governments be requested to work with the legislature to address the problem of underfunding and unsafe staffing levels at correctional and detention facilities; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor and the secretary of corrections.

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