Concerns over conditions at MDC continue after recent inmate death 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The concerns over conditions continue at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County. As the year winds down, the list of inmates who have died while in the care of the county is growing.

32-year-old Olivia Martinez died Christmas morning, just four days after being booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County.

County officials say she died of a medical emergency and that life-saving efforts did not work.

Martinez was arrested after police say she was caught as a passenger in a stolen vehicle. But her charges were dismissed the same day, for lack of evidence.

She was being held for failing to appear in a different case, from May 2023, accused of slashing someone’s car tire. 

Including Martinez’s, KOB 4 tallied around nine inmate deaths over the last year.

The Bernalillo County Detention Facility Advisory Board touched on jail safety in June.

“I think that’s an important thing, that the general public knows that it has our attention. It has had our attention, and we’ll continue to work on it,” said Michael Brasher, an advisory board member.

But we continue to hear from people questioning the type of care at MDC and whether inmates get the medical attention they need.

UNM hospital took over as the new health care provider in late July, announcing new efforts and priorities in August.

“We have identified areas that need our immediate attention, such as the need to increase staff and process improvement. In response to this, we are actively working on standardizing high risk areas such as intake, detox and sick call,” said MDC Healthcare Authority Board, and Associate Chief Medical Officer of UNM Special Projects Dr. Rebecca Fastle.

KOB 4 talked a lot about staffing shortages at MDC.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 27, there is still a 30% vacancy rate for officers and security posts.

As for the investigation into Martinez’s death, it will be handled by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office along with the MDC Office of Professional Standards.