An inmate at the state penitentiary in Santa Fe has filed a lawsuit claiming he was unjustly held in solitary confinement for eight years based on unsubstantiated information that he was a member of a “security threat group,” and that the state uses “evasive classification methods as a torture tool.”

Joseph Saavedra has been incarcerated since 1994 and is expected to be released in 2017, according to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alex Tomlin.

Tomlin said Saavedra was originally convicted of two counts of armed robbery but since then appears to have picked up other charges, including smuggling contraband into a prison. Tomlin said Saavedra spent 11 of the past 19 years in Florida as part of an interstate corrections compact. He said Saavedra was returned in 2014 because he expressed interest in participating in a program that gradually moves prisoners out of segregation. However, she said, he has since refused to participate in the program.

Saavedra says in his complaint that classification as a prisoner who must be held in his cell 23 hours a day has not been reviewed in good faith during his time as a prisoner, in violation of state law and his civil rights.

“The Department of Corrections’ newly enacted classification procedures are cunningly designed to maintain all inmates in some form of indefinite segregation,” he said in his handwritten complaint.

He seeks revision of the classification procedure and equal access to educational programs and materials essential for self-representation, as well as change to the protocol inmates must follow to receive visitors.

Contact Phaedra Haywood at 986-3068 or

(1) comment

Steve Salazar

In other countries, inmates don't get fed unless they have family close enough to feed them.

Quit complaining, criminal.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.