Jail bookings, arrests lower since first case of coronavirus

Jail bookings, arrests lower since first case of coronavirus

From the Las Vegas Optic

Criminal bookings at the San Miguel County Detention Center have decreased substantially since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Mexico on March 11, according to data compiled by the Optic.

During the two-week period of March 11 to March 25 in 2019, SMCDC had 92 criminal bookings. During the same two-week period this year, only 29 people had been booked into the jail, a 68 percent decrease.

Warden Matt Elwell said he has noticed that bookings have declined significantly, and attributed part of the decrease to orders issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that instruct New Mexicans to stay at home, and to orders put in place by the New Mexico Supreme Court restricting jury trials and in-person court appearances.

Meanwhile, the caseload at San Miguel Magistrate Court remained about the same. During the two-week period of March 11 to March 25 in 2019, 13 criminal cases appeared on the court docket, and arrest warrants were issued in three of those cases. In the same period this year, the court had 12 criminal cases, but and issued seven arrest warrants. All seven of the warrants issued were criminal warrants, as opposed to warrants issued for failing to appear for a court hearing or failing to pay court fees. As of this writing, only two of those individuals with warrants had been arrested.