Juvenile Justice Task Force

Chair: Jeanette Martinez, LMSW Email Jeanette   "Approximately 90,000 young people are in juvenile detention or correctional facilities each day." -Annie E. Casey Foundation, No Place For Kids report, 2011   How the Juvenile Justice System works Juvenile delinquency in New Mexico is an entirely different system compared to the adult system. The basis for the system is the Children's Code Delinquency Act. Children are held accountable, not based on adult consequences for their behavior, but based on their age, background, mental, physical, and other relevant factors. The idea is to provide a program of supervision, care and rehabilitation, including rehabilitative restitution as well as deterrents to acts of juvenile delinquency, including emphasis on community based alternative. In keeping with these statutory purposes, ALL the participants in the juvenile justice system work together to implement evidence-based approaches to delinquent behavior and the needs of youth and families with the goal of reducing or eliminating recidivism and diverting youth from entry into the adult criminal justice system. In 1999, a team of agencies began exploring alternative options to detention, and launched the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). The JDAI Approach - 8 key Strategies 1. Collaboration - Planning and decision making among the agencies that comprise the juvenile court system, related public service and community organizations. 2. Data-driven policy and program decisions. 3. Admission Policy - Developing and implementing objective policies and practices for admitting youth to secure confinement that reflect risk of re-offense and non-appearance. 4. Case processing - Administrative strategizing to reduce unnecessary delays at each step of the juvenile court process. 5. Alternatives to Detention - Providing a continuum of supervision that ranges from secure custody for dangerous youth to less restrictive options for youth whose risk of re-arrest or non appearance can be moderated by program participation. 6. Special Cases - Developing strategies to address detention due to warrants, violations of probation and youth awaiting placement. 7. Focus on eliminating racial disparities by data tracking, staff diversity, cultural training and development of community-based programs. 8.   Conditions of Confinement - Providing routine, detailed inspections to ensure proper conditions for youth who must remain in secure custody.   Why the JDAI approach?
  • Juvenile Continuum Act, Section 9-2A-14.1 NMSA 1978 - creates a fund for juvenile justice grant awards to units of local and tribal government for a continuum of graduated sanctions and services. The state Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC), attached to CYFD, makes awards of these funds.
  • The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) was established by State Statue as an advisory body to provide assistance, counsel and recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, and CYFD in juvenile justice delinquency prevention, intervention and public safety.
The local juvenile justice board (JJAC) created by the county or city under the Continuum Act chooses and develops the program and services that are funded. These are local boards consisting of local juvenile justice professionals, schools, the business and faith communities and private nonprofit local organizations serving youth. Approximately $2.4 million dollars in federal and state grant funds are allocated to communities in New Mexico. Currently there are 20 continuum sites that serve 21 New Mexico Counties. Sites currently funded by JJAC. (http://cyfd.org/docs/jjac_programs.pdf)   Juvenile Justice Task Force goals for next year 2014 - 2015 Respond to Current trends    GOAL: Create awareness in the social work community of the shifts in Juvenile Justice policy and growing trends toward rehabilitation. OBJECTIVE:
  • Provide awareness and education utilizing lunch and learn
  • Workshops
Inform the public of the Juvenile Justice Alternative Initiative (JDAI) GOAL: Educate Children's Court judges, probation officers, juvenile detention center, public defenders, district attorney office and community organizations about Juvenile Justice reform. OBJECTIVE:
  • Arrange in house meetings with stakeholders
  • Perform presentation of Juvenile Justice initiative at community meetings
  Advocate for best practices GOAL: Identify Restorative Justice as a best practice model OBJECTIVE:
  • Coordinate trainings in response to increasing interest for Restorative Justice
  • Workshops