ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Whether someone is serving two years or life, for some people in prison, corrections staff must take extra steps to make sure everyone’s safe.
“We’ve had some very high-profile inmates that maybe need a couple more officers on the escort, perhaps they come in at a different time then other inmates,” said Alex Sanchez with the New Mexico Corrections Department.
But it doesn’t start there. Every inmate, no matter who, goes through a physical and mental test when the first arrive. They’re then scored with one being minimal risk to level six, which houses some of the worst of the worst.
Often, inmates are even grouped.
“They’re either serving for similar crimes, or they have a connectivity you know gang ties, or law enforcement ties,” said Sanchez.
That means sex offenders with sex offenders, and law enforcement officials convicted of crimes are usually together too.
“They’re able to program together in a safe environment where you’re not worried about another inmate attacking them because they’re all part of the same group basically,” said Sanchez.
Through these groupings, corrections staff said they’ve actually cut the number of inmates in isolation in half, down to less than 5 percent.
“Even those inmates in really strict housing, they’re still working to leave that,” said Sanchez.
These can be prisoners that are a danger to others, but often times Sanchez said it’s for their own safety, no matter how dangerous the crime they committed.
“We can’t knowingly put someone in a situation where they’re going to get hurt,” said Sanchez.