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Committee Chair: Lissa Knudsen,, 505-218-5115

Since 2013, the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force (NMBTF), working in collaboration with a broad base of stakeholders and advocates, began an effort to create a more humane and effective criminal justice system with respect to the treatment of mother-prisoners.

Our goals include protecting the pregnancy and lactation rights of incarcerated mothers and their children, exposing abusive practices, educating the public and policymakers about the barriers that exist, and advocating for systemic, lasting and progressive change.

We strive to build the power of the communities most negatively affected by criminal justice policy.

At NMBTF, our efforts are driven by a deep belief in the inherent dignity of all human beings. We are working to create a criminal justice system and a society that is in line with best practices, a growing body of medical evidence, and treats people and their families with fairness, dignity, opportunity and respect.

Legislative Efforts

NMBTF provided expert testimony related to the bills: 

SB 363: Expectant & Postpartum Prisoners Act (2015)

SB 293/HB 277: Lactation Policies for Female Inmates Act and SB 277: Pregnant/Lactating Alternative Sentencing Act (2017)

Judicial Efforts

NMBTF helped Monique Hidalgo obtain legal representation to ensure that she could remain hospitalized with her newborn to enable breastfeeding until her child was stable and eligible for discharge.

Working closely with Ms. Hidalgo's attorneys and medical providers, provided support and education to help facilitate the establishment of a New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) Pilot Lactation Program for Level 1, 2, & 3 inmates.

When NMCD refused to allow Ms. Hidalgo to breastfeed her baby during visitation and to use an electric breast pump when her and her child were separated, NMBTF helped provide expert testimony and education regarding the importance breastfeeding, provided the electric pump, and volunteered to pick up Ms. Hidalgo's expressed milk for delivery to a physician.

In June 2017, a preliminary injunction ruling declared that Ms. Hidalgo has a constitutional right to breastfeed and breast pump for her child that is more compelling that NMCD's interests to prevent her from doing so. 

If you are interested in learning more about this effort, becoming a member of the NM Breastfeeding Task Force, or making a donation to further advance this effort, please click here.