Family members of two men who hanged themselves within 24 hours of each other at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility last month say their loved ones wouldn’t have died if the state prison near Los Lunas was properly run.

It’s an allegation state Corrections Department officials deny, but prisoner advocates contend the deaths point to a problem that is chronic throughout New Mexico’s prison system: inadequate staffing, both in terms of medical care and day-to-day life within the prison.

State officials counter that while staffing levels are lower than they would prefer, reduced population counts at the prison balance the equation.