Throwing people into the “hole” can be inhumane, and it can be costly to the taxpayers.
A misdemeanor DWI charge landed Jerome Gonzales in the Otero County lockup in 2012. Roughly two months later he was diagnosed as psychotic as a result of his stint in solitary confinement, according to his attorney.
In essence, “he walked in without any symptoms and they watched him behave in (a) most inhuman manner for two months” without providing any mental health treatment, attorney Matt Coyte says.
Otero County has agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle Gonzales’ federal civil rights lawsuit. That’s a lot less than the $22 million a Doña Ana County jury awarded in 2012 to Stephen Slevin, who spent 22 months in solitary in Las Cruces. The county eventually agreed to a $15.5 million settlement.