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Youth Services Center

Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiatives News



The Bernalillo County Youth Services Center will work with the national Center for Children’s Law and Policy, the New Mexico Association of Counties and the Children Youth and Families Department to address the implementation of Zero Tolerance policies for the Prison Rape Elimination Act or PREA. The primary focus of the work will be to the implement Zero Tolerance policy and procedures, develop training curriculum and materials for staff and for youth, distribute these materials and ensure best practice is maintained throughout all County run juvenile detention centers in New Mexico.
 
Bernalillo County Youth Services Center is one of six national juvenile justice reform model sites and is tasked with improving conditions of confinement for detained youth in Bernalillo County and providing technical assistance in the state of New Mexico.  

After ten years of focused efforts to reform the “front end” of the juvenile justice system, Bernalillo County JDAI stakeholders are now looking more closely at those youth caught in the “Deep End” of the juvenile justice system. Youth in the Deep End of Bernalillo County’s system have been identified as waiting for placement in out of home placements such as group homes, treatment foster care, residential treatment and long term commitment. 
 
Youth stay an average of 17.5 days in Bernalillo County Youth Services Center. Youth waiting placement, or “Deep End” youth stay up to three times longer. On any given day, Deep End youth are close to 30% of the total juvenile detention population in Youth Services Center. These youth tend to have more complex needs, but not always more serious offenses. Bernalillo County will focus its efforts under this initiative on reducing these out of home commitments significantly, but safely, through program reform in partnership with community agencies and at the state and local government levels. 
 
Currently the Deep End team is conducting a site assessment that includes interviews of over 40 community agencies and leaders, families and youth, mental health providers, and justice system stakeholders. The information gathered from this assessment will be used in conjunction with other demographic data to develop a work plan prioritized to reform the way we address the needs of these youth.

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