Drug Court proving effective in New Mexico
November 08, 2018 10:43 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Drug addiction is one of the biggest fuels for crime in New Mexico.
In the early 90s, New Mexico decided to do something different when it came to offenders whose crimes were fueled by substance abuse. Officials implemented Drug Courts.
Individuals would go through treatment programs and check in often with the courts, lawyers and take routine drug tests.
"All of us work together to try to change these people's minds, their lives, their way of living," said Bernalillo County District Court Judge Cristina Jaramillo.
She says over the last 23 years, 1,900 people have gone through the Drug Court program and the results have been encouraging.
"The graduation rate ranks in the 80s and recidivism rate is less than the national average which I think is below 10 percent," she said.
Experts said those who go to jail without treatment are 50 percent more likely to commit crimes again.
"One of the dangers is that drug court participants could be more focused on when do I get out of here than what am I doing that threatens public safety and what do I need to work on in treatment to prove that behavior," said national substance abuse expert, Dr. David Me Lee.
Judge Jaramillo said a couple of challenges facing our state is funding for these programs and, the many rural communities where people might not have access to treatment.
The state is looking into using telemedicine to connect individuals with providers to keep them on track.
Updated: November 08, 2018 10:43 PM
Created: November 08, 2018 04:36 PM
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