incarceration

There have been more than 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails across 47 states. Only Idaho and Wyoming, as well as Hawaii, have yet to see a confirmed case within the inmate population in state correctional facilities, according to the nonprofit journalist outlet the Marshall Project

 


my_southborough via Creative Commons / Creative Commons

Many New Mexicans are being told to stay at home and distance themselves from others to minimize the cases of COVID-19 in the state. But that’s not an option for those stuck in jails and prisons, who usually have close contact with each other in tight spaces. Expanding on an earlier episode, this conversation is all about the dangers that these inmates face – as well as the staff who oversee them and the community at large.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

UPDATED Tuesday, April 6, 1p: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an order on Monday, April 6, directing the New Mexico Corrections Department to compile a list of inmates eligible for early release, in order to reduce incarcerated populations and slow the spread of coronavirus. To be eligible for release, prisoners must have a parole plan and a release date less than 30 days away, and they cannot be serving time for domestic abuse, sex offenses or felony DWI.

The order comes days after dozens of people organized COVID-safe car rallies Friday in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, calling on the governor and sheriff’s departments to release people from prisons, jails and ICE detention centers.

courtesy of GBCS

 

UPDATE 1/31 2p: Peña-Hanson says she is no longer supporting both bills and that Gordon Bernell Charter School will focus only on HB 152.

New Mexico lawmakers are considering setting aside $6 million dollars in the higher education budget for some charter schools that educate adults. Last year, legislators changed the K-12 funding formula so public schools can no longer get money for students who are over 21. 

John Miller via Pixabay / Creative Commons

A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico stalled in the Senate last year. Over the summer, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham convened a work group to study the issue and gather public comment, and the group released recommendations for legalization that—among other things—prioritized equity for people who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Rep. Javier Martínez, one of the sponsors of this year’s bill, spoke with KUNM about this year’s proposal, which passed out of the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote Tuesday, Jan. 28. 

courtesy of Kimberlee Hanson / GBCS

Gordon Bernell Charter School fills a gap in New Mexico’s education system, helping adults in jail or who have previously been incarcerated to build the skills they need to finish high school. The school’s future is uncertain after the state Legislature this year banned schools from claiming Public Education Department funding for students over age 21. Leaders at the school went before lawmakers this week to ask for a stable funding source.

LEAD Santa Fe

Let's Talk NM 9/5, 8a: Communities across New Mexico are trying a new approach to substance use disorder: having law enforcement work with service providers to get people into treatment instead of sending them to jail. We wrap up our summer series on recovery with a discussion of Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion and similar programs. We want to hear from you! If you've quit using drugs or alcohol, how did interactions with the criminal justice system help or hurt your recovery process? How do these diversion programs make a difference for people who want to quit using? Do they go far enough in treating addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue? Email questions or comments to LetsTalk@kunm.org, or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866.

CoreCivic via Flickr CC

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a second lawsuit Monday, July 29, on behalf of a woman who says she was subject to repeated sexual abuse from a corrections officer while she was in the Springer prison. The lawsuit says her complaints weren’t taken seriously by prison administration, and the accused officer maintains his job and position today.


The beginning of the school year is fast approaching and school supplies can be expensive, especially for women who are getting out of jail or prison and reconnecting with their families. Crossroads for Women in Albuquerque is holding their annual backpack and school supply drive and it ends this week.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered dozens of state police officers to come to Albuquerque as part of a surge aimed at slowing violent crime after a baseball player for the University of New Mexico was killed in Nob Hill. Residents talked about the impact of their presence in a predominantly minority Southeastern neighborhood that they say has a history of being overpoliced.

jmiller291 via flicker / Creative Commons

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. 

pxhere.com / Public Domain

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.

pxhere / Creative Commons


  Women’s Focus 12/29 12p: On this episode we’ll explore how Crossroads For Women helps women successfully return to the community after incarceration as part of a project of the Solutions Journalism Network. It’s a nonprofit organization that works to rebalance the news so what we read, hear, and listen to each day are not only problems, but also solutions.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Let's Talk New Mexico 9/20 8 am: Prisons in New Mexico don’t have enough medical staff, and advocates say this means people don’t get the help they need—even when their injuries and illnesses are severe. Are you incarcerated? Or do you have friends or family members in state prisons? Are you concerned about their health? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show on Thursday morning: 277-5866.

Pixabay via CC

The state fired the private company in charge of prisoner health care and gave the contract to another company after a 2016 investigation into dangerously bad medical care in prisons by the Santa Fe New Mexican. But in the two years since the change, millions of dollars in fines have been leveled against the new private health care provider. 

orangesparrow via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 5/18 8a. Many New Mexicans are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. When they break the law for driving under the influence or committing a crime related to their addiction, should they go to jail or into treatment? 

From the 2013 ACLU-NM report "Inside The Box"

Advocates around the country have been working to limit the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons. The New Mexico Legislature passed a bill this year that would prohibit putting people who are under 18 or pregnant or who have a serious mental illness into solitary. But last week, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed it.

Judge Prohibits Jail From Holding Prisoners For ICE

Mar 28, 2017
my_southborough via Creative Commons / Creative Commons

President Trump’s administration this month began publishing a weekly report of local and state law enforcement agencies that have refused to detain people so that federal agents can determine their legal status.

But a federal judge in New Mexico recently approved a settlement that prohibits the San Juan County jail from doing just that - holding inmates past their release date at the request of federal agents.

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons

There are 13 federal prisons around the United States that are run by private companies. One of them is in New Mexico. And today the Department of Justice said it’s going to stop using corporations to run federal prisons.

pixabay via CC

The company that handles medical services for prisoners in the state—Corizon Health—is facing hundreds of lawsuits filed by inmates who say care is inadequate. A series in the Santa Fe New Mexican investigates whether state officials have been ignoring warning signs or have done an inadequate job overseeing Corizon. 

Pecos Enterprise, Smokey Briggs / Courtesy of The Nation

The number of people being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border has risen drastically over the last couple of decades. And the penalty can include lengthy stays behind bars. But where do all these inmates go? 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The number of people who are behind bars in America is much bigger than it was 40 years ago. In fact, it’s five times higher. That means a lot more parents are doing time, and having a record can limit people’s ability to get a job, find a place to live and provide for their kids. A local program is trying to help dads get around the obstacles and back on track with their families.

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s no secret that the state’s jails have become default treatment centers for people dealing with mental illness. But a task force has come up with tangible steps to find a better solution.

Generation Justice

Inmates and their relatives pay steep phone bills to keep in touch, and prison phone companies rake in billions. The Federal Communications Commission moved to cap those rates last week because it isn’t only the inmate who pays the price.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Untreated minor health concerns can grow into big, expensive ailments, maybe even fatal illnesses. That’s true for people who are in jail, too. Many of the state’s jails charge inmates copays for their medical care, but some say the fees deter inmates from seeking the help they need before health problems get out of control. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

FARMINGTON, N.M.—Nationwide, the number of people who die in jail is rising. Here in New Mexico, three deaths in three months in San Juan County’s lockup caught the attention of attorneys and the local newspaper

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

  

For hundreds of people in New Mexico, getting out of jail or prison hinges on whether there’s a bed in a halfway house, a slot in a treatment program or space in a mental health facility. Until a spot opens up, they remain behind bars, and it costs taxpayers thousands of extra dollars while they wait.

Public Health In The 2015 Session

Mar 24, 2015
Arianna Sena / KUNM

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

Michael Coghlan via Flickr CC

Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee presented a report on high incarceration rates at the State Bar of New Mexico this morning. The NAS says the growth in lockups in the United States is historically unprecedented and unlike any other country in the world.

The U.S. has too many people behind bars, according to the NAS report, and the high rate of imprisonment has surpassed any public safety benefit.

Solitary Confinement And Public Health

May 9, 2014
my_southborough via Creative Commons / Creative Commons

KUNM's Public Health correspondent Marisa Demarco recently completed a three part series on the use of solitary confinement in New Mexico prisons and jails.

A recent report co-authored by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the American Civil Liberties Union New Mexico found the practice to be not only ineffective, but inhumane and expensive.  

Demarco explained to KUNM's Rita Daniels that some inmates were put in segregation for really long periods of time, over two years in one case.