Is an imprisoned felon worth more than your grandmother? New Mexico thinks so.

I have three friends in their 90s, two of them in “congregate housing.” None of them has received the COVID vaccine.

State prisoners have.

Before the ACLU starts blubbering about how much we owe prisoners, since they are being held against their will, let’s look at how these two groups got into their current housing situation.

As a former prosecutor, I know how hard it is for an NM felon to earn his prison bunk. First, he has to commit a felony, usually several, before the authorities consider him worth the resources to take him to court and hopefully convict him.

Then he will more likely than not be put on probation, which he will have to violate repeatedly before the judge will admit to himself that the first sentence was a mistake, and prison is appropriate. Then maybe he actually gets sent to prison, for a fraction of the term which should have initially been imposed.

If you leave him in his cell, without outings to dining halls, day rooms and exercise facilities, there will most likely be a civil rights suit over cruel and inhumane conditions.

Old folks got where they are by getting old and decrepit, which most of us eventually will. They were no longer able to live independently and had to move to a senior apartment or a nursing home.

Before COVID, they would probably have had meals in a dining room, and other social gatherings with their friends. COVID has stopped that.

They are now confined to their rooms, with meals brought to them. They have no way to see friends or family.

Life is on hold, awaiting vaccination. If you ask them, they are bored to tears.

Since COVID vaccines are in short supply, anytime you prioritize one group, you are de-prioritizing another. Although guards, like cops, are essential workers, vaccinating prisoners is a value judgment made by our governor, apparently valuing the approval of the ACLU over the AARP.

As an over-70, yet another group moved to the back to protect precious prisoners, I will be remembering this at the next election.

Ken McDaniel

Rio Rancho