KUNM

Lalita Moskowitz

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The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Monday, Nov. 4, filed the third in a series of lawsuits charging that prison guards are sexually assaulting and abusing women who are locked up. All three lawsuits say these individual cases are part of a larger systemic problem in the state’s Department of Corrections.

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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.

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When people are behind bars, the government is responsible for their health care. That’s in the U.S. Constitution. Anything less is considered cruel and unusual punishment. But New Mexico has a history of struggling to meet that obligation. Lawsuits about deaths and permanent health damage pile up.