System Improvement Initiative

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New Mexico’s System Improvement approach is based on Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). It is designed to enable jurisdictions to safely reduce reliance on secure confinement through continuous juvenile justice system improvement. JDAI is intended to: 1) Eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention (2) Minimize failures to appear and incidence of delinquent behavior; (3) Redirect public finances to successful reform strategies; (4) Improve conditions in secure detention facilities; and (5) Reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

JDAI Links

The JDAI philosophy is driven by eight core strategies:

  1. Interagency collaboration between key juvenile justice stakeholders, parents, the community, and others to plan and coordinate reform activities
  2. Use of accurate data to diagnose and understand the system’s problems, identify solutions, and drive program and policy decisions
  3. Reliance on objective admission criteria and instrument to guide detention admission decisions
  4. Utilize alternatives to detention to provide youth with community-based supervision while they are awaiting adjudication
  5. Reform case processing in order to accelerate the movement of delinquency cases, reduce unnecessary delays, and ensure that interventions are timely and appropriate
  6. Reduce the use of secure confinement for “special” detention cases such as violation of probation
  7. Commit to reducing racial and ethnic disparities by implementing practices and policies that eliminate structural and personal biases that result in racial and ethnic disparities (in concert with the Racial & Ethnic Disparities (RED) initiative.)
  8. Improving and monitor conditions of confinement by conducting routine facility inspections.

CYFD is currently planning and tracking the implementation of this multi-year roll out, and the resulting impact at various decision points, as well as other decision points in the probation process. Priorities for the System Improvement include local planning and implementation including training and support, state and local coordination and collaboration, data reliability and validity, and relationships with American Indian partners.

Representatives from CYFD, the New Mexico Supreme Court, the New Mexico Counties, and the Public Education Department have convened a Statewide Leadership Team to develop a work plan for expanding System Improvement to rural and frontier as well as urban communities statewide. Working on a parallel track to statewide activities, local activities will include System Improvement fundamentals training, review/analysis of data, conducting systems assessments, and the development of local work plans.

For further information

Patti Vowell
System Improvement Coordinator
(505) 231-3489

NM SARA Log-In Page

Screening, Admissions & Releases Application (SARA) is an internet based system used by Juvenile Probation Officers, Juvenile Detention Centers and CYFD to track and monitor juvenile detention admissions and releases. If law enforcement is seeking detention for a youth who is being referred for a delinquent offense, a Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI) is used to determine if secure detention is appropriate. If the RAI is recommending secure detention, Juvenile Detention Centers admit the juvenile into their facility. SARA tracks how many days the juvenile is held in secure detention.