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Judge OKs New Mexico prison inmates settlement

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has approved a settlement under which New Mexico will pay $750,000 to approximately 500 current and former prison inmates who were forced to strip and sit front to back for long periods.

The Albuquerque Journal ( reports that District Judge Christina Armijo approved the settlement Thursday, more than a year after the sides reached the agreement following months of negotiations and two mediations.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2011 after inmates claimed they were subjected to the so-called “strip and straddle” practice in 2009 and 2010 at the Los Lunas Correctional Facility.

Officials said the practice used to control inmates during unrest or emergencies has been halted, and a Corrections Department lawyer said it won’t resume.

The settlement provides per-inmate payments ranging from $528 to $2,114.