EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Las Cruces hosted a graduation for more than a dozen of its inmates on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Thirteen received their High School Equivalency (HSE) and one received an associate degree from Ashland University.

According to the latest numbers gathered by the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED), 199 inmates have attained an HSE during Fiscal Year 2023, which include Tuesday’s graduates at SNMCF. This number of graduates continues to exceed the target of 165 NM Corrections Department graduates, set by the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), by more than 20 percent.

Additionally, the Corrections Department announced that it has the highest number of HSE completers of any adult education program in the state, during FY23.

“This newest class of graduates is a direct reflection of the tireless efforts of our NMCD staff and
volunteers who are committed to helping our inmates prepare for a better life outside of prison.
These degrees will not only help the inmates, but ultimately their families and communities.”
said Alisha Tafoya Lucero, secretary of the New Mexico Corrections Department.

“New Mexico’s corrections-based adult education programs provide an essential educational pathway for incarcerated New Mexicans to gain skills that will support their successful transition back into society and reduce recidivism. The New Mexico Higher Education Department congratulates all these graduates and thanks our Adult Education Division and the New Mexico Corrections Department for their dedication to uplifting New Mexicans through education,” said Acting Higher Education Secretary Patricia Trujillo, Ph.D.

The Higher Education Department awarded $343,392 to the Corrections Department in FY23 to support adult education programs at correctional facilities statewide via federal funds granted from the U.S. Department of Education. These programs served 1,233 students between June of 2022 and July of 2023.