NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A class-action lawsuit is being filed against the state accusing officials of not doing enough to protect inmates from COVID-19. The ACLU and New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and several incarcerated individuals are seeking to reduce the number of people incarcerated in New Mexico prisons and to ensure the state immediately implements safe social distancing, heightened hygiene practices, and proper medical treatment.

“Individuals in our prison system are too often unseen and underrepresented, ” said Faegre Drinker attorney Chris Casolaro in a press release. “The tragic suffering and loss of life due to COVID-19 in New Mexico prisons was, and is, preventable if the State enforces its own mandate for social distancing, heightened hygiene practices, and safe quarantine and treatment.”

At last report, more than 1,300 inmates housed in New Mexico had tested positive for COVID-19, the biggest outbreak has been at the Otero County Prison Facility with 472 cases.