penitentiary of new

Penitentiary of New Mexico: A Historic Look

The Penitentiary of New Mexico, situated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a renowned maximum security prison. With its three distinct facilities catering to different custody levels, it stands as a formidable correctional institution. This article delves into the intriguing aspects of the Penitentiary of New Mexico, from its facilities to its haunted reputation and visitation guidelines.

Facilities and Inmate Population

The prison comprises three units: a minimum level 2 unit, a level 4 and 5 unit, and a level 6 maximum security unit. Currently, the Penitentiary of New Mexico houses nearly 800 adult male inmates. Notably, the Level VI Supermax unit within the facility serves as New Mexico’s Death Row, accommodating offenders who have committed the most atrocious crimes.

A History of Violent Prison Riots

Throughout its history, the Penitentiary of New Mexico has been a witness to some of the most brutal prison riots in correctional annals. One such riot occurred during the 1980s, lasting an arduous two days and resulting in the tragic demise of 33 inmates. The penitentiary has gained notoriety as more than just a correctional institution; it has become known for its alleged paranormal occurrences.

See also  Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility

Unexplained Occurrences and Haunting Legends

Numerous inmates and staff members have reported a myriad of unexplained phenomena within the Penitentiary of New Mexico. These occurrences have contributed to the prison’s reputation as a haunted establishment. From inexplicable sounds to eerie sightings, the reports have fueled the intrigue surrounding this penitentiary. Such stories have transcended the prison’s walls, captivating the interest of those fascinated by the supernatural.

Visiting Hours and Guidelines

For individuals wishing to visit an inmate at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, it is essential to have an approved visitation application on file. The visitation rules vary based on the inmate’s custody level, with specific regulations for different categories.

Level II Inmates Visiting Hours

Visiting hours for Level II inmates are as follows:

  • Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

Level IV, V, and VI Inmates Visiting Hours and Appointment Guidelines

Visitation for Level IV, V, and VI inmates is by appointment only. The following details outline the visiting hours and appointment process:

  • Days: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • Visiting times: 8:30am, 10:30am, and 12:30pm.
  • To schedule an appointment, contact (505)-471-2585 or (505)-827-8570 between Thursday and Sunday during visiting hours.

Contact Information and Addresses

For any inquiries or correspondence related to the Penitentiary of New Mexico, please find the relevant contact information below:

Physical Address

Penitentiary of New Mexico 4331 State Highway 14 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504


For general inquiries, please call: (505)-827-8201

Inmate Mailing Address

If you wish to send mail to an inmate, please use the following format:

See also  Springer Correctional Center

Inmate Name, ID Number Penitentiary of New Mexico P.O. Box 1059 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1059

The Beginning: Origins and Construction

Building Layout and Design

Constructed in 1885, the Penitentiary of New Mexico was meticulously designed to uphold the principles of reform and punishment. With its imposing structure and intricate layout, it was emblematic of the era’s architectural trends. You may wonder, what set its design apart?

The Early Years: Operations and Procedures

The prison, in its early years, housed some of the most notorious criminals. The daily procedures were strict, aiming to instill discipline while also focusing on rehabilitation.

The Disturbing Era: The 1980 Prison Riot

The Events Leading to the Riot

The year 1980 marked a turning point for the penitentiary. A toxic mix of overcrowding, administrative negligence, and simmering discontent among inmates led to one of the deadliest prison riots in US history.

The Riot: A Day of Horror

February 2, 1980 – the day the prison turned into a gruesome battleground. The riot saw unthinkable violence and loss, shocking the entire nation. What happened during this fateful day?

The Aftermath: Changes and Reforms

In the wake of the riot, the penitentiary underwent major reforms aimed at addressing the underlying issues that led to the disaster. A renewed focus on humane treatment and rehabilitation took center stage.

Penitentiary of New Mexico Today

The Rehabilitation Programs

Today, the penitentiary stands as a beacon of progressive reform. With rehabilitation programs at its heart, it seeks to transform the lives of inmates, offering them a chance at redemption.

See also  Western New Mexico Correctional Facility

The Security Measures

While it emphasizes rehabilitation, the penitentiary doesn’t compromise on security. The implementation of modern technology has made it one of the most secure facilities in the state.

The Impact of Penitentiary of New Mexico

On the Local Community

The Penitentiary of New Mexico has a significant impact on the local community, creating job opportunities while also fostering a safer environment.

The emphasis on rehabilitation and humane treatment serve as a model for other institutions across the country. The lessons learned from the dark days of the riot have illuminated a path towards a more just and effective correctional system.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Penitentiary of New Mexico is not just a prison, but a monument of history, a symbol of change, and a beacon of hope for a more enlightened and effective correctional system. Its past, filled with highs and lows, shapes its present and future. The penitentiary stands testament to the fact that even the darkest chapters can be turned around to pen a story of redemption and reform.


Q1: When was the Penitentiary of New Mexico established?

A1: The Penitentiary of New Mexico was established in 1885.

Q2: What led to the infamous 1980 prison riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico?

A2: Factors such as overcrowding, administrative negligence, and growing discontent among inmates contributed to the 1980 prison riot.

Q3: What changes were implemented after the 1980 riot?

A3: In the aftermath of the riot, the penitentiary underwent major reforms focusing on humane treatment, rehabilitation of inmates, and improved security measures.

Q4: What kind of rehabilitation programs are offered at the Penitentiary of New Mexico today?

A4: The penitentiary offers various rehabilitation programs aimed at skill development, education, and mental health support to help inmates reintegrate into society upon release.

Q5: How has the Penitentiary of New Mexico influenced the wider correctional system?

A5: The prison’s emphasis on rehabilitation, humane treatment, and its transformation post-riot serve as a model for other institutions, shaping correctional policies nationwide.

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