- Associated Press - Monday, October 21, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The first-ever quarterly report from the New Mexico Corrections Department on its use of solitary confinement shows about 4% of inmates are held alone in a cell for at least 22 hours a day.

The main reasons were pending court hearings and transfers - not because a prisoner was a threat to themself or others, according to the report.

Some spent just a day or two in isolation, while many were confined for weeks or months.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that collection of the data was mandated by legislation signed into law earlier this year. The new law restricts the use of solitary confinement for pregnant, juvenile and mentally ill inmates.

State and county correctional facilities are required to report the age, gender and ethnicity of each inmate placed or held in solitary during each three-month reporting period.

They must also list the reasons that restricted housing was imposed and the time it was served.

The report lists each of the 1,160 times solitary was used in the past quarter.

State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, who was among those who sponsored the legislation, said he’s happy to have baseline data to start measuring the department’s progress.

However, the Albuquerque Democrat said the report could be reformatted so the data can be more easily analyzed and questions about racial and gender disparities can be answered.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com

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