The New Mexico Corrections Department on Monday distributed the Prison Rape Elimination Act video to wardens at the six state-owned prisons and four privately run prisons.
The video will be shown to current and incoming inmates to enable them to reduce their risk of becoming rape victims while incarcerated, Shannon McReynolds, Inspector General for the New Mexico Corrections Department said in a news release.
The video was also sent last week to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County - the first county facility to agree to use the video. The center's chief, Ramon Rustin, said the introduction of the video is a change for prison officials and inmates, and everyone needs to adjust.
"Rape used to be hidden in jails. It was something (that) no one wanted to talk about," Rustin said. "That's changed, and we need to send out a message that it won't be tolerated."
The video will be made available to all New Mexico county jails and detention facilities in the coming weeks.
In New Mexico prisons there are about 6,600 inmates. In 2011, there were six reports of sexual abuse. One case was substantiated and is now pending possible prosecution, according to New Mexico Corrections Department officials.
?Today is a great day for the Corrections Department. The creation of this video is a proactive step to meet Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act guidelines and to protect inmates. The New Mexico Corrections Department has a zero tolerance policy for rape inside our facilities," McReynolds said.
Production Outfitters, an Albuquerque production company, shot the video using a two-person, news-like studio with a digitally constructed prison as a backdrop. Production Outfitters owner Gary Marsh said using a digitally constructed prison was easier than filming at a prison because there are so many regulations with shooting footage at jails.
"By shooting it here we could focus on the content, which is very sensitive," Marsh said.
Among other tips, the video tells inmates to decline any gifts, avoid bragging that they are tough, and report any threats of assaults immediately.
The video also tells inmates what to expect if they are raped, from physical reactions to emotional effects. And it walks inmates through the process of reporting sexual assaults.