New Mexico lawmakers take up solitary confinement

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico lawmakers are considering legislation designed to curb solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the state.

Judiciary committees in the House and Senate are expected Friday to debate measures prohibiting the use of solitary confinement for inmates younger than 18, pregnant female inmates and those who have a serious mental illness.

Supporters say isolating such inmates is expensive, a factor lawmakers are being forced to weigh as the state grapples with a budget shortfall.

Others say the cost of having such inmates in the general population is unquantifiable, noting that could lead to more altercations among inmates and the need for more guards.

The legislation also requires regular reporting by all correctional facilities on the inmates who are held in isolation with specific details about the circumstances.

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