According to data from the New Mexico Sentencing Commission, New Mexico's prison population will reach capacity within two years. The Sentencing Commission presented its latest prison population forecast to the legislative Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee last week in Santa Fe. The report found that New Mexico houses a higher percentage of inmates convicted of violent offenses compared to other states, and that the number of serious violent offenders has been increasing. Over the last decade, the number of annual admissions for violent inmates has nearly doubled, and the report indicates that the number of parole violations and serious violent offenders will continue to climb. The number of female prisoners in New Mexico jailed for violent crimes is slightly higher than the national average, and the report found a notable increase in New Mexico's female inmate population over the last five years. The forecast claims that the female prison population will surpass capacity within a year. It claims the number of male prisoners will reach its limit within two years.
UNMH Begins Search for New CEO
University of New Mexico Hospital CEO Steve McKernan announced last month that he will be retiring in October. He will remain at full salary for the remainder of October in an “emeritus” role during the transition to interim CEO Michael Chicarelli. UNM leaders, meanwhile, have met with an executive search firm and begun to form a local search committee to find McKernan's permanent replacement, but the wait for a successor could last until 2018. Dr. Paul Roth, chancellor of UNM’s Health Sciences Center, has voiced concerns over finding a replacement who will work at the position's current salary. McKernan earns $517,591 annually to oversee UNMH, an amount that Roth says is low by industry standards. The search committee, which will be made up of representatives from inside and outside the university, is expected to meet this month to discuss criteria.
Former Senator Dies at 85
Former New Mexico Sen. Pete V. Domenici died last week at the age of 85. Domenici, a Republican, was the longest-serving senator in New Mexico's history. Since his first term in 1972, he has been known for his support of the state's military installations and his dedication to fiscal restraint. Beginning in 2003, he served as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he oversaw decisions about oil and gas drilling, nuclear power and renewable energy. In 2006, a Senate Ethics Committee found Domenici created an appearance of impropriety when he called US Attorney David Iglesias—one of nine federal prosecutors fired by the Bush administration for what was later deemed to be political reasons—to inquire about the timing of corruption indictments. Domenici never received any punishment for the impropriety, though. In 2007, he announced that he wouldn't seek a seventh Senate term due to the diagnosis of an incurable brain disorder. He made headlines again in 2013 when he admitted to having a child out of wedlock in the 1970s as the result of an affair with the daughter of one of his Senate colleagues. The former senator died at the University of New Mexico Hospital. He had reportedly undergone abdominal surgery recently. Domenici is survived by his wife, nine children and numerous grandchildren.