Media Contact

Katie Hoeppner:

March 20, 2020

Yesterday, Sandoval County attorney Robin S. Hammer asked a judge to order its detention center to release all people who are incarcerated for nonviolent and misdemeanor offenses and to decline to book anyone else on those charges.

The following statement can be attributed to Lalita Moskowitz, ACLU of New Mexico staff attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow:

“We are deeply concerned about the people incarcerated in jails and  prisons across our state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts recognize that incarcerated people, who live in close proximity and are often denied adequate hygiene products, are especially vulnerable to infection.”

“We commend Sandoval County attorney Robin S. Hammer for acknowledging that the best possible way to combat the spread of the virus is to reduce the number of people in custody and for taking measures to protect them. Too often, incarcerated people are forgotten in emergencies, leading to unnecessary and preventable suffering and loss of life. We encourage other counties to take the same humane and responsible steps before the public health crisis worsens.”

“We will continue to monitor correctional facilities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they are taking the necessary measures to protect the dignity and health of those involved in the criminal legal system. We cannot overstate the urgency of deliberate and calculated action.”