The Latest From the CJ Project: Solitary Confinement in New Mexico

In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2016 photo, George Abila, who won a nearly $2 million lawsuit against New Mexico's Eddy County over his treatment while held in solitary confinement, sits in his attorney's office in Albuquerque, N.M. Former jail inmates have won more than $20 million in judgments in recent years against New Mexico counties over their treatment while held in solitary confinement. With more cases pending, state lawmakers are debating a proposal that would ban solitary confinement for juveniles, pregnant women and inmates with mental illness. (AP Photo/Mary Hudetz)

George Abila sits in his attorney’s office in Albuquerque, NM. (AP Photo/Mary Hudetz)

On March 6, Mary Hudetz, a reporter for the Associated Press, published the first story of the ongoing CJ Project, a special reporting series covering criminal and juvenile justice issues within the state of New Mexico.

In the article, Hudetz delves into the story of George Abila, an inmate placed into solitary confinement after multiple suicide attempts at the Eddy County Detention Center in Carlsbad, NM.

The civil rights lawsuit filed in 2014 after Abila’s release marked at least the fifth in New Mexico to result in a major payout for a former jail inmate held in solitary confinement, a practice that has been scrutinized nationwide amid growing evidence that the mentally ill are routinely housed in segregation. Despite continued criticism on the conditions of solitary confinement, settlements from related cases have continued to strain resources in an already cash-strapped state. Read the full article on

Featured image courtesy of AP Images.