Question: Is the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) of taken appropriate precautions to protect against spread of Coronavirus in the prisons?
Answer: Of course not. That was a purely rhetorical question. NMCD can never be counted on to do the right thing nor can the people of New Mexico expect even a nominal level of competence at NMCD.
Why does it matter? Guards are equally subject to Coronavirus and lack of precautions have put them at risk and their communities at risk when they leave NMCD facilities.
Gross Medical Negligence, Incompetence and Indifference at NMCD
The medical care within NMCD is grossly inadequate in the best of times. Collins & Collins, P.C. has filed numerous lawsuits against NMCD and its medical providers well in advance of Coronavirus. These lawsuits outline gross levels of medical negligence, incompetence and indifference to even critical medical needs of inmates. Many of the cases involve inmates who begged for weeks or months for medical attention as infections spread through their spines. Some left the facilities in comas, a number arrived at emergency rooms with osteomyelitis, sepsis, some did not survive. Yet nothing seems to have changed at NMCD despite the numerous lawsuits filed or the many similar cases who did not or have not contacted Collins & Collins, P.C.
One particularly concerning issue is the failure to provide basic care for chronic illness such as diabetes which incidentally is a significant risk factor for Coronavirus. Collins & Collins, P.C. has filed suit on one of these so far. We will be filing many more. All of these arose well before Coronavirus. There are countless more that we have not heard from. This is a full-blown crisis now with these inmates at grave risk of death due to NMCD’s failure to take any precautions thus far and the window has closed.
No Advance Precautions Taken by NMCD for Coronavirus Containment
Attorney Parrish Collins at Collins & Collins, P.C. visited Central New Mexico Correctional Facility one week ago. At that time, he was told by a guard that CNMCF was doing nothing to prevent the spread at the facility. Upon visiting the Long-Term Care Unit, NMCD’s sorry attempt at a hospital facility, this was confirmed. To date, it appears that no meaningful action has been taken to stop the spread of Coronavirus in the prisons or the communities in which they reside.
Prison Staff and Guards at High Risk as Are Their Families and Communities
Collins & Collins, P.C. learned 3 days ago, Friday March 13, 2020 that neither staff nor guards were undergoing any testing at all prior to entering or leaving the facility. This puts inmates at risk. It puts the guards, their families and their communities at risk. Given the utter indifference to the seriousness of Coronavirus, it may be expected that Coronavirus will rip through NMCD facilities. Aside from the inhumanity of simply ignoring the grave risk to life of inmates, the spread will radiate into the communities.
New Mexico People Cannot Trust NMCD to do the Right Thing
This may be taken as a general rule of thumb. NMCD rarely if ever behave responsibly and humanely. The medical care, including preventive medicine such as containment of a virus, is grossly inadequate, incompetent and inhumane. In most situations, this does not affect the community. This situation is far different. Governor Lujan Grisham must intervene to protect the inmates, the prison staff and the community at large. NMCD cannot be trusted to act responsibly. Even were they so inclined, which they are not, they are incompetent, and the people of New Mexico should not be forced to rely on NMCD to contain the virus inside its walls nor beyond the gates as prison staff and guards move freely between the prisons and their communities.
Collins & Collins, P.C. has placed NMCD and the Governor’s office on notice of the NMCD’s astonishing failure to take any action to minimize the spread of Coronavirus. You should do the same particularly if you or a loved one works in NMCD or live in a community where there is a NMCD facility.