San Juan County inmates cause disturbance over meals, COVID-19 conditions | KOB 4

San Juan County inmates cause disturbance over meals, COVID-19 conditions

Diana Castillo
Created: July 14, 2020 06:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Thirty-five inmates at the San Juan County Jail barricaded themselves inside and lit blankets on fire Monday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Officials said the riot was triggered by a protest over meals and not enough coronavirus tests. More than 100 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility.


"There not helping us at all, they don't give us nothing for our pain, they don't give us nothing for anything, they don't care,” said one detainee who tested positive for the virus.

He said those with him are not being properly treated during the outbreak.

"These are family friends, known them for years and yeah, they did a crime, they messed up. They don't deserve to be there, and they don't deserve to be infected with this virus,” said Nola Kester, who knows the detainee.

As of Tuesday, 147 detainees have tested positive for the virus. The jail has five quarantine pods, which is where the disturbance occurred.

"We do have two nurses on staff 24 hours a day,” said Jim Cox, San Juan County Manager. “They do rotate each pod at least twice daily—more if needed. Those who are COVID- positive, vitals are taken minimum twice daily.”

Cox said only those who are positive are in quarantine pods. He also said corrections officers are required to wear masks and PPE.

The pods where the disturbance occurred have been cleaned and sanitized. Maintenance will also fix any damages.

Detainees who were directly involved in the disturbance have been placed under lockdown, and will face additional charges.

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