When Stephen Slevin was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center on Aug. 24, 2005, for DWI and receiving a stolen vehicle near Las Cruces, he was physically healthy and weighed 185 pounds.
After spending most of 19 months in solitary confinement, he was sent in May 2007 to the state Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas for a psychiatric review. By that time, he was malnourished, 50 pounds thinner, unkempt and looked like a wild man.
“His toenails had grown so long, they curled under his feet,” and he suffered from bedsores and a fungal infection on his skin, according to court filings in the federal lawsuit that went to trial last week in Santa Fe.
A jury awarded Slevin $22 million in damages against Doña Ana County for depriving him of his right to humane treatment in the county’s lockup.
Slevin suffered from depression when he was arrested, but while incarcerated, his mental health deteriorated due to the lack of medical care and prolonged solitary confinement. “He was treated like an animal for almost two years,” said attorney Matthew Coyte of Albuquerque. “Worse than an animal. You wouldn’t put an animal in a cell that size, and not let them out, and if you did, you’d be arrested.”
Slevin states, “Prison officials were walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate. Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”
No one is denying the fact that Slevin broke a couple of laws and should have been indicted properly, but this is a pure case of neglect and inhumane treatment. I live in Albuquerque and this does not surprise me in the least that Stephen was treated in such a manner. Our own APD is under investigation by the DoJ for an abnormally high amount of police shootings.
Since I do not typically watch the local news, nor read the local paper, I was unaware of this lawsuit settlement. I want to thank Eideard, a fellow WordPress blogger, for publishing a post about Stephen Slevin. I shared his post with my friends on Facebook and here are a few interesting comments by someone who decided to make a phone call to Doña Ana County Detention Center.
Friend: So i just called Dona Ana Detention center to ask about this and the person i got was just laughing about it. And thought it was funny. No shit. I am not even kidding total sickos.
Friend: Yes. No shit. They asked if i wanted there autograph hahahaha. Did not even care like so what.
Feel free to give the Doña Ana County Detention Center a call and tell them what YOU think…
Detention Center Administrator
Doña Ana County Detention Center… you have outdone yourselves this time. You should be so proud.