U.S. Magistrate Judge Kirtan Khalsa on Friday gave final approval to a settlement aimed at bringing an end to a 40-year-old civil case that forced some of the most significant penal reforms in New Mexico history.

The Duran Consent Decree was signed in 1980 in the wake of a bloody uprising at the Penitentiary of New Mexico to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by onetime inmate Dwight Duran. The agreement imposed rules aimed at bringing conditions in state prisons up to constitutional standards and making sure they remained.

For many years, the book-length agreement governed everything from pest control to medical care and included oversight from a court monitor. But in 1991, it was replaced with a new agreement that vacated most of its provisions, save those that restricted overcrowding in the state’s prisons.



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