UNM study disputes state's solitary confinement rates | KOB 4

UNM study disputes state's solitary confinement rates

Chris Ramirez
February 28, 2019 06:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New research by UNM graduate students, which is endorsed by the ACLU, suggests the New Mexico prison system may be misleading the public about how many people they have in solitary confinement.


The two UNM researchers collected data and interviewed inmates inside New Mexico prisons.

They concluded that the state ranks among the highest for solitary confinement, at rates higher than what the state has officially reported.

The ACLU believes isolation commonly results in psychological distress, anxiety, symptoms of self-mutilation, sleep disturbances, among other things.

4 investigates has reported extensively about solitary confinement.

Through the years, the team has interviewed people who were left in cells alone for days, weeks, months on end.

“When you're put in a cell like that, you just get worse. It doesn't help at all," said Jan Green, who was left in a solitary confinement cell for so long, she went into total psychosis.

Years later, she says she still suffers.

The practice is so controversial, the United Nations declared it as a form of torture.

However, New Mexico continues to use it as a disciplinary tool despite attempts to curb its use.

A spokesperson for the governor said she feels strongly that solitary confinement should be used only in extreme circumstances, adding that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is dismayed by the normalization of the practice.

The governor calls it inhumane and is troubled by the gap between the corrections numbers and UNM's numbers.

Meanwhile, a bill in the Roundhouse would prevent pregnant women, mentally ill adults and children from being placed in solitary confinement.


Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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