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Inmate, cancer patient, 73, sues N.M. over time in solitary

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  -  A lawsuit alleges New Mexico prison officials left a 73-year-old grandmother in solitary confinement for nearly five weeks and deprived her of needed cancer medication.

According to the suit filed last month in U.S. District Court, Carol Lester was placed in solitary at New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility in Grants after she complained to lawmakers about her medication.

Her attorney, Matthew Coyte, says staff changed Lester's medications and prescribed Zantac, which caused her to test positive for methamphetamines.

The lawsuit claims the prison wrongly left Lester in solitary confinement for 34 days.

Lester pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 2010 and suffers from bi-polar disorder. She is now out of prison.

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel says the state is making changes in the way inmates are placed in solitary confinement.

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