Corrections Department

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People who are incarcerated faced a lack of resources when it came to access to health care and PPE during the pandemic. A couple of bills before lawmakers in New Mexico during the last legislative session could have addressed those problems, but prison reform has been placed on the back-burner for another year. KUNM’s Taylor Velazquez spoke with Lalita Moskowitz from the ACLU of New Mexico about the dangerous conditions inside private prisons.

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Clifton White and Selinda Guerrero organized Free Them All Fridays for months, speaking out against conditions and abuses in New Mexico prisons. White had spent years behind the walls, with Guerrero on the outside calling for prisoners’ rights. After the couple pulled together the first Black Lives Matter protest of 2020 in Albuquerque in late May, White was arrested on an administrative parole violation, which Guerrero says was retaliation for their protests. She and other demonstrators called for his release all summer long. He was returned to his family late last week. KUNM talked with the couple Monday, Nov. 2, in a park, with everyone wearing masks, which you might hear in the interview.

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For years, people who’d been in New Mexico prisons brought lawsuits and allegations about dangerously bad medical care, as well as sexual abuse by a prison doctor. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, a report just came to light detailing the Department of Corrections failures—even though the state’s been trying to hide it.

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State lawmakers just passed restrictions on solitary confinement, the first of their kind in the state. If Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs them into law, New Mexico prisons and jails will have rules about who they can isolate. 

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The United States imprisons a larger portion of its population than any other country in the world, and the use of solitary confinement is widespread. Here in New Mexico, the rate has been going down, but the American Civil Liberties Union released a study Thursday, Feb. 28, saying the numbers are much higher than the state reports.

Public Health In The 2015 Session

Mar 24, 2015
Arianna Sena / KUNM

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

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Female inmates are the fastest-growing prison population in the state. New moms and pregnant women who are heading to jail could be affected by legislation proposed this session. 

Sen. Lisa Torraco’s bill would do two things: One, it would allow new moms to pump their breast milk while they’re in jail or prison, so it can be given to their babies.