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Judge: NM Prison System Must Allow Breastfeeding

Judge: NM Prison System Must Allow Breastfeeding

Corrections Officials Argue Prisoners Could Use Opportunity To Smuggle Contraband

A state court judge has ruled that the New Mexico Department of Corrections has to let an inmate in the Grants women’s prison breastfeed her infant daughter.

The decision Friday by First District Court Judge David Thompson in Santa Fe means that inmate Monique Hidalgo can feed her daughter during regular visiting hours at the prison, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Corrections officials had argued that Hidalgo, who is serving time for failing to comply with probation requirements for drug possession and trafficking charges, could smuggle contraband into the prison if she were allowed to nurse her infant under a cover.

Hidalgo and the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force sued the DOC earlier this month after DOC officials refused to let her breastfeed her daughter when the girl was brought to the prison during regular visiting hours. Officials also refused to let Hidalgo use an electronic breast pump, and instead made her use a manual pump.

During this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers approved two bills in regards to breast-feeding and female inmates. One would have allowed for early releases of lactating mothers, and the other would have required prisons to adopt breastfeeding policies.

Gov. Susana Martinez didn’t signed the bills, but instead let them die through a pocket veto.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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