Bill Restricting Isolated Confinement Awaits Governor’s Signature

Bill Restricting Isolated Confinement Awaits Governor’s Signature

HB 175 Restricts New Mexico Correctional Facilities’ Use of Outdated & Inhumane Practice

Santa Fe, NM – Today, the House concurred with the Senate on House Bill 175, the Isolated Confinement Act. HB175, the Isolated Confinement Act restricts the use of isolated confinement in New Mexico for pregnant women, minors, and those suffering from severe mental illness in New Mexico prisons and jails. It also sets a 48-hour maximum for isolated confinement in cases of emergency and a five-day maximum upon initial booking.

“Today the Senate and House agreed: solitary confinement does not make us safer and has long-term detrimental effects on inmates and the communities they return too,” stated the bill sponsor Representative Antonio Maestas (D-Albuquerque). “This is a momentous occasion and I look forward to meeting with Governor Martinez regarding the necessity of this Act.”

House Bill 175 introduces new reporting requirements for correctional facilities so that county commissions will be kept apprised of the number of inmates held in isolated confinement, as well as the reasons for that confinement. The bill also requires correctional facilities to report all monetary settlements paid out to inmates and former inmates as a result of lawsuits filed against the facility or its employees.

With its concurrence, HB 175 awaits the Governor’s signature.