Bernalillo County Jail – The nation’s largest current Coronavirus superspreader institution

People make mistakes that result in their incarceration.  The local county jail is not just filled with murderers and rapists. It houses people who have received DWI, people who, in the heat of the moment, became physical with their partner, people who have committed petty offenses: driving on a suspended license, panhandling, or shoplifting.  

Regardless of an individual’s crime, every offender has the basic right to be fed, to have a bunk to sleep in and access to a toilet.  Furthermore, every inmate regardless of his crime has the right to personal safety and to receive medical care.  This is the United States of America, the most advanced society in the history of the world, and our lawbreakers deserve reasonable accommodations while awaiting trial or while serving out their sentence.

How many people in Albuquerque have a family member or friend who has spent the night at MDC?  This person made a bad decision, and everyone’s actions have consequences.  

How many of these offenders deserve to catch coronavirus while in jail and risk dying from the virus?  Moreover, how many of these offender’s family members deserve to contract Coronavirus because of another individual’s bad decision?

In a time of unprecedented sickness and too often death government agencies must be as diligent about following mandated protocols as they ask their citizens to be.  

The month of October has been a difficult time for New Mexico.  Once a model of effective COVID management, the state has lost its footing and literally fallen by the weight of this highly contagious disease.  Today New Mexico saw 677 new cases of the virus, doubling the state’s former highest day total.  What’s really going on?  Is the public not being made aware of certain hotspots, potentially being exposed to the deadly virus due to poor decisions being made by our local government.

It is with utter disappointment and grave sadness that I report the following:  Bernalillo County Officials, specifically those officials running the detention center, have knowingly and willfully subjected all of Albuquerque to the Coronavirus by not testing symptomatic inmates or notifying the State of any problems.

As of today every  single pod at the detention center is under quarantine.  The Governor just one week ago ordered the National Guard to go to the jail and test every single inmate.  Although it’s not being reported by the media and the Governor is remaining tight lipped about the severity of the situation.  It is currently believed that approximately 80% of the 1400 person jail population currently has COVID-19.  The situation is so bad that there are no inmates able to work in any of the various jobs, no kitchen workers, no laundry attendants, and no trustees cleaning and sanitizing the hallways or offices at the institution.

Even more disturbing, Metropolitan Detention Center has released 707 potentially infected inmates back into the community in just the past two weeks.

Make no mistake about it MDC is currently the biggest ongoing Coronavirus superspreader institution in all of New Mexico and most likely all of the nation.  

As a former lawbreaker who fortunately has turned my life around, my immediate and overwhelming concern is for the health and safety of the inmates.  Having formerly been incarcerated, I understand the horrible conditions and inhumane treatment that inmates receive on a daily basis that largely goes unreported.

And with the utter disrespect that Metropolitan Detention Center has for New Mexico’s law abiding citizens, demonstrated by their hiding the outbreak from the Governor, one can only imagine the deplorable and inhumane treatment shown to the inmates.  

I firmly believe that every human being deserves a second chance.  Everyone makes mistakes. Probably 90% of the population has at one time in their life committed a minor offense and gotten away with it.  Inmates are people too, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  Their punishment is loss of freedom, and it does not include being housed in dangerous environments or being lied to about the truth of a deadly situation inside the jail.

Enough is enough.  The Metropolitan Detention Center, due to the criminal acts of its administrators, has for far too long operated with complete and utter disregard for the community.  Bernalillo County officials have not only provided a deplorable inhumane living standard for its inmates, but MDC has also treated those that work at the jail with total disrespect: intimidating instead of providing, bullying instead of treating employees fairly.

In no other county all across America has the governor had to call in the National Guard to deal with a situation caused by county officials.  The current situation at MDC is deplorable.  Every single County official responsible for the situation should be immediately terminated.

We are currently 18 days away from an election.  I strongly urge the people of Bernalillo County and of the entire State to make your voices heard.  Let’s make it clear to our local government officials that our Government is by the people and for the people.  On November 3rd it’s not about Republican or Democrat, it’s about voting out every single incumbent in office. By ending the careers of unjust and toxic politicians, New Mexico can send a clear and concise message.  We will not tolerate corruption or deceptive practices by our elected officials. If every New Mexican showed local government that we are not a community that tolerates being lied to or being subjected to a toxic environment, our State could become a leader among States, demanding that the government work for and serve its citizens.  

With so many distractions, fake news reports, and a media that has failed its people, it is all too easy for a major story like the situation at MDC to go unreported. It is disgraceful that our very own county officials, people living amongst us, have let this COVID situation get completely out of hand.  The time has come for drastic and dramatic change.  If local government won’t clean itself off then we must do it for them, for our own safety and well being: on November 3, 2020 take back our government.  Remove every single incumbent from office so this kind of bullshit stops once and for all. Vote them out!

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