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The New Mexico State Prison System

The New Mexico State Prison System involves the incarceration of offenders in prison facilities that are run by the state government. Following the state’s criminal justice system, the Judiciary Branch can punish defendants convicted of crimes with imprisonment for a period of time.

The New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) is charged with the management of the state prison system and handles its operation. The department has several divisions that perform different functions to ensure public safety and smooth integration of offenders back into society.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in New Mexico?

Although New Mexico jails and prisons serve similar functions of confining inmates sentenced to incarceration by the court, there are distinctions between them.

The sentence period between a jail and a prison is different. While the court sentences offenders to jail for a short incarceration period (usually not more than a year), prison sentences are longer than that.

Individuals remanded in a jail facility must have been convicted of a crime. Apart from convicted inmates, jails also house persons awaiting trial or a transfer to a state prison facility.

New Mexico prison facilities are run by the state government, through the New Mexico Corrections Department or private organizations. However, the operation of state jails is the responsibility of the local law enforcement agency which is the Sheriff’s Department.

How Many Prisons are in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, eleven prison facilities hold inmates sentenced to imprisonment by a state court. Four of these prisons are operated privately. There are different security levels of prisons. Some facilities may have more than one level. The state prisons include:

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico
  • Roswell Correctional Center
  • Springer Correctional Center
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility
  • Lea County Correctional Facility
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center
  • Otero County Prison Facility

How do I search for an Inmate in New Mexico State Prison?

To perform a search for an inmate confined in New Mexico state prison, inquirers can make use of the Corrections Department Offender Information search tool. The offender search provides information on inmates in a New Mexico prison facility. To perform a search, users must input the inmate’s full name, offender number, and NMCD number.

In addition to the prison facility an inmate is held, querying parties can also get details of the inmate’s sentence, offense history, incarceration status, release date, and other similar information.

Alternatively, the Office of Offender Management Services is a division of the NMCD that generates records of inmates upon their arrival at the facility. Interested persons can get desired inmate information by contacting the inmate records at (505) 383–2804.

Are Incarceration Records Public in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the general public has access to incarceration records and other related information. Among other information, incarceration records contain the subject of the record’s arrest information, offense history, and prison facility they were confined to. The New Mexico Sunshine Laws give members of the public a right to inspect and copy records generated by government agencies, such as incarceration records. Persons that wish to obtain incarceration records should however note that some information may be unavailable to them if they are deemed confidential.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in New Mexico

Since the New Mexico jails are operated by the local law enforcement agency, records pertaining to them are also managed by the agency. Interested persons can visit the Sheriff’s Department that runs a county jail to request desired records in-person. The New Mexico County Sheriff’s Directory provides their office location and contact details. The Sheriff’s Office may also provide an online means that interested persons can look up jail records.

Some New Mexico county websites maintain jail information that the general public can access by visiting the site. For example, Dona Ana county disseminates a registry of inmates confined in its county jail. Bernalillo County site also provides access to an Arrest List that querying parties can obtain information of persons apprehended by local law officers.

Generally, The Department of Public Safety (DPS) manages criminal history information in the state. The DPS makes criminal information available to the public through the state background check. Individuals that want to obtain such information can complete the request form and mail it to the DPS. The agency charges a fee of $15 per record check.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in New Mexico?

Following the Expungement Act, jail records in New Mexico can be expunged if they meet the criteria stated in the act.

Typically, persons who law officers wrongfully arrest or are wrongfully charged can petition the court to expunge their arrest records and other related public information. The court holds a hearing and orders the expungement of the records within thirty days.

Persons who were apprehended but not convicted of a criminal charge can also petition to expunge their jail records within a year from the date of the case’s final disposition.

To expunge jail records involving criminal convictions, interested individuals can petition the court where the criminal case proceedings occurred. However, the law requires petitioners to meet some requirements. The petitioner must have no pending charges or criminal convictions within a period from the date of expungement request.

For municipal ordinances and misdemeanors, individuals must not have any conviction within two years from the date of the petition. Felony expungement requests require petitioners to be conviction-free between four to six years, depending on the degree of felony.

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