ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Daniel Golden Jr. is an ex-convict who was hanging out at a birthday party in August when he suddenly became belligerent after someone changed the music. Authorities say he grabbed a 9mm handgun and fired several shots in the air before being arrested on a firearms charge.
Upon his arrest, investigators soon discovered that Golden shouldn’t have been walking the streets in the first place because he had violated the terms of his probation. In fact, in the four times Golden had been released from state prison since 2006, he had violated the terms of his release each time.
He’s not the only one in New Mexico. Around 1,500 ex-convicts accused of violating their parole or probation in New Mexico are on the run from authorities, and about a third of them are violent offenders, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Golden’s case and others like it reveal an often-overlooked problem in the criminal justice system in New Mexico and around the country. Criminals are released on probation or parole, then violate the terms of the release. The state doesn’t catch them, and they commit more crimes when they should be back behind bars.
The problem has prompted New Mexico Department of Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel to create a Fugitive Apprehension Team in response to the high number of violators, often called absconders.
“Any time we have absconders that means we’re failing in terms of (public safety),” Marcantel said. “Let’s be frank. They’re not absconding to join the Login to read more