State senators on Friday voted 29-3 for a bill to prohibit jails and prisons from placing in solitary confinement inmates who are pregnant, mentally ill or younger than 18.
The bill does not apply to federal prisoners, and it has exceptions for inmates who pose an ongoing threat of physically harming someone.
House Bill 175 next goes to Gov. Susana Martinez for her consideration. It previously cleared the House of Representatives 38-22 on a largely party-line vote. Republicans cast all the votes against it.
Democratic Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, an Albuquerque attorney, sponsored the bill. Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, presented it on the Senate floor. She said the measure would lessen the chance of lawsuits over solitary confinement, which have led to court judgments for New Mexico inmates exceeding $26 million.
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