1980 Prison Riot at the "Old Main"
February 2, 1980 inmates at the "Old Main" Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe initiated one of the most known prison riots in Corrections history. At the time of the riot there were close to 1200 inmates in an 800 capacity prison. The conditions proved to be difficult for the inmates due to small living spaces, overcrowding, and the lack of vocational programming. During the 36 hours of the riot, 33 inmates lost their lives, and many inmates and staff were injured.
The riot has been a part of history that changed the rights for inmates and staff alike. Today, NMCD and its private partners are accredited by the American Correctional Association and is one of only a handful of other states that have earned the prestigious Eagle Award. A Corrections Department earns the Eagle Award when all areas of the Department are accredited. NMCD continues to grow and adapt to population changes, staffing challenges, and budget shortages.
The New Mexico Corrections Department has scheduled 22 public tours at the Penitentiary of New Mexico "Old Main" prison for the New Mexico Centennial year celebrations. There are over 150 people signed up for each tour. The tours are such a huge success that all our tour dates are booked for the rest of the year. The tours are a commemoration of the progress the Department has made since the 1980 prison riot and are a sign that the Department is growing and gaining public trust by opening its doors and inviting the public to share our accomplishments.
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list for the tours, please call 505-827-8645. If you requested to be part of a tour by e-mail and are not on the list for a tour, please forward the original e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be given a special tour date.