Juvenile Drug Court
The mission of the Eleventh Judicial District Court’s Juvenile Drug Court Program (San Juan County) is to provide judicial intervention, intensive substance abuse treatment, intensive mental health treatment, and intensive supervision to youth who have committed criminal acts as a direct or indirect result of their substance abuse and/or mental illness. The Juvenile Drug Court works in cooperation with community and governmental agencies to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the youth to reduce recidivism.
Goals and Objectives
The Goals and Objectives of the Eleventh Judicial District Court’s Juvenile Drug Court Program (San Juan County) are:
- To reduce drug and alcohol usage by Juvenile Drug Court participants.
- To reduce the likelihood of partipants re-immersing themselves in the Criminal Justice System.
- To work cooperatively with appropriate community agencies and juvenile justice programs to ensure the unified effort necessary to serve Program participants.
- To increase the ability of the Juvenile Drug Court participants to live successful, productive lives within the community by developing responsibility and accountability and by enhancing their self-esteem.
- For participants to demonstrate a commitment to positive change as measured by the successful completion of each Phase of the Program, culminating in graduation from the Juvenile Drug Court Program.
The Juvenile Drug Court Program in San Juan County is an intensive, outpatient treatment program open to drug and alcohol users, as well as seriously mentally ill juveniles between 13 and 17 years of age. The juveniles served by this program may be adjudicated or on conditions of release. Juveniles are referred to the Program by one or more of the following agencies: The Court, Juvenile Probation, the District Attorney, or the juvenile’s Defense Attorney. The Juvenile Drug Court Program started the Wellness Track last fiscal year to address the increase in seriously mentally ill juveniles being referred to the Juvenile Probation Office. The Wellness Track is part of the Drug Court program, but is designed to address the mental health needs of those juveniles identified and accepted into the program.
The Program is designed around the concept of positive reinforcement and is based on a team effort for support. It recognizes and accepts that a juvenile may struggle to remain substance free or compliant, and therefore, sanctions and therapeutic alternatives are built into the program when such violations occur. The design concept of the Juvenile Drug Court Program also maintains that individuals continue through the phases of the Program until they successfully graduate.
The Program is designed in such a way that as participants make progress with their substance abuse issues, they move from a highly supervised treatment program in the earlier phases to less supervision and restrictions before graduating from the Program. Advancement is considered an important achievement and is given considerable attention by the Operational Team and the District Court Judge who oversees participants’ progress.
When appropriate, the Program avails itself of the opportunities offered by the District’s unique Grade Court Program which encourages educational success through judicial monitoring and review.
Currently, District Court Judge Sarah Weaver conducts Juvenile Drug Court each week on Wednesday at 4:00 pm.
The idea of having a Juvenile Drug Court in San Juan County was conceived 14 years ago when the Juvenile Probation and Parole identified the need for an intensive outpatient treatment program for juveniles with substance abuse problems.
San Juan County District Court developed an advisory board. This “Juvenile Crime Enforcement Coalition” joined members of the District Court, the Public Defender’s Office, The District Attorney, Juvenile Probation, local Law Enforcement Agencies, local School Districts, and others in an effort to initiate a Juvenile Drug Court Program.
Through outreach we have developed collaboration with other community agencies to effectively rehabilitate youth with substance issues.
FY21 Statistical Highlights
Graduation Rate: 45.45%
Graduate Recidivism: 35.29%
Currently, the Program is funded through supplemental and reoccurring funding from the New Mexico Legislature through the Eleventh Judicial District Court.