Senate remembers famous prison riot

SANTA FE (KRQE) – The state Senate took time Tuesday to remember the anniversary of the state’s most infamous prison riot.

Thirty-four years ago this week, inmates took over the state penitentiary in Santa Fe.

Thirty-three inmates were murdered before the National Guard could regain control of the prison.

On Tuesday, the state Senate unanimously passed a memorial honoring the victims and the prison guards taken hostage.

The family of one of those guards, Edward Ortega, were guests of honor.

“He didn’t talk about it in great lengths,” said Ortega’s granddaughter, Amanda Romero. “When he did, I think he was grateful that he had treated the prisoners with respect, the inmates with respect, and then in turn when the riots happened, in return they protected him.”

The prison where those riots happened is now closed, but in recent months, the New Mexico Corrections Department has opened it up for tours.