Court Orders Bernalillo County to Remedy the Problems with Medical Care at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
On September 27, 2021, attorneys representing people incarcerated at the Bernalillo Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in the McClendon class action filed a motion in federal court alleging that medical care at MDC was deficient, violated federal court orders and detainees’ constitutional rights, and placed people at unreasonable risk of harm. In short, there was a crisis in medical care at the jail, and we sought to protect our clients’ health, safety, and civil rights.
The County entered into negotiations to resolve this motion and take steps to address the problems with medical care at MDC. The result was a Settlement Agreement and Corrective Action Plan. The Corrective Action Plan is detailed and addresses issues like lack of physicians and nurses, lack of a chronic care program, delays in sick call, medication lapses, and untimely treatment for withdrawal from substances.
On January 17, 2023, the Honorable Judge Browning entered an Order approving the Stipulated Settlement Agreement. The Agreement requires the County to promptly and without delay implement the Corrective Action Plan. It also provides for oversight from the court appointed medical expert as well as quarterly status conferences with the Court.
This Agreement is designed to safeguard the health and safety of our community members incarcerated at MDC. It is drawn from the issues our clients repeatedly bring to our attention and it is a testament to their self-advocacy and resilience. Nine more people died at MDC, since we filed this motion in September 2021. The Agreement cannot erase the very real suffering of those who have been incarcerated at MDC now and over the last several years, or ease the heartache of families who have lost their loved ones. However, we hope that by entering into this Agreement, the County is truly committing to providing necessary and adequate medical care to our incarcerated community members. We expect the County to promptly implement the Corrective Action Plan to protect the health, safety, and dignity of the people in its custody.