SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – State prison officials have been packing two inmates in cells built for one person at Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants, violating population controls.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a recent federal court settlement shows that the facility was “double-celling” prisoners, which violates terms of the Duran Decree, which was put in place after the bloody Santa Fe penitentiary riot in 1980.
Severe crowding was cited as a major contributor to the Santa Fe riot, in which 33 inmates died.
As part of Friday’s settlement agreement, the Department of Corrections will stop the practice and remove any second bunks that were bolted onto walls of single-prisoner cells any time after 1991.
Deputy Secretary of Administrative Support Alex Sanchez says the double-celling was a temporary measure due to an air-conditioning issue.