New Mexico profile
New Mexico has an incarceration rate of 733 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in New Mexico and why.
Jump to COVID-19 data.
18,000 people from New Mexico are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in New Mexico is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 49,000 different people are booked into local jails in New Mexico.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these New Mexico graphs:
Today, New Mexico’s incarceration rates stand out internationally
In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.
People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails
See also our detailed graphs about Whites,
and American Indians/Native Americans
in New Mexico prisons and jails.
New Mexico's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Data on COVID-19 in New Mexico jails and prisons
We gave New Mexico a "D-" grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- New Mexico is one of seven states that have vaccinated more than 80% of their incarcerated population.
- Nevertheless, New Mexico is one of 15 prison systems that does not have a policy making hand sanitizer widely available or providing free hygiene products — like soap — to incarcerated people.
- New Mexico failed to utilize one of the most obvious, and easiest, tools for reducing the prison population — stopping prison admissions for technical violations of probation and parole (which are not crimes).
For more detail, see our report States of Emergency. Or check out these other resources:
- Our Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic page tracks criminal justice policy responses to the coronavirus all 50 states
- State prison and jail population data for February 2022. (Previous data is available for October 2021, June 2021, February 2021, December 2020, September 2020, August 2020, and May 2020.) Data availability varies by state.
- How crowded are New Mexico prisons, as of December 2020?
- How many COVID-19 cases in New Mexico communities can be linked to outbreaks in correctional facilities? (data from our report Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread)
- As of August 2020, New Mexico prisons were not even requiring staff to wear masks at work
Our other articles about New Mexico