Lawsuit Alleges Inhumane Treatment At Valencia County Detention Center

Jan 3, 2013

A woman who was jailed at the Valencia County Detention Center has filed a lawsuit claiming she was mistreated and denied medical and mental health treatment during her incarceration.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the federal lawsuit was filed by Jan Green who was never convicted.  The suit alleges civil rights violations and inhumane treatment and names the jail's warden Joe Chavez, a contract nurse, and two other employees. 

Chavez denies that the jail failed to provide medical or mental health care to Green and says she was placed in an observation unit when her behavior prevented her from remaining with the general jail population.

Green's lawyer, Matthew Coyte, says she was held in solitary confinement in a converted shower room and that she slept on a pad on the floor near an open drain. 

Valencia County Manager Bruce Swingle also disputed the claims in the lawsuit, noting that jails and prisons often become the default institutions to care for individuals with mental illness due to a lack of mental health facilities.