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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Bond-Maupin appointed to New Mexico Juvenile Justice Commission

Lisa Bond-Maupin, director of Women's Studies and an associate professor of criminal justice at New Mexico State University, has been selected to serve on the newly formed New Mexico Juvenile Justice Commission. Her appointment was announced Jan. 11 by New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Cabinet Secretary-Designate Dorian Dodson and state Rep. Tom Swisstack, who will chair the commission.

The commission will analyze the state juvenile justice system and recommend improvements to state officials. Commission subcommittees will examine education of incarcerated youth, community-based services and other aspects of juvenile justice. Existing practices will be compared to national best practices, trends in the legal processing of youth will be examined, and recommendations will then be made.

Some of the challenges facing the commission already are being addressed, Bond-Maupin said, emphasizing that her comments are her own opinions and not representative of the commission, which has yet to meet and determine its priorities.

"CYFD and the Juvenile Parole Board have a shared commitment to reducing the population of incarcerated youths and have made great progress in this area, including CYFD making the difficult decision to close the New Mexico Boys' School," she said.

However, new challenges for CYFD have arisen because the emphasis now is on community-based approaches with youth, Bond-Maupin said. These challenges include the need to develop a more effective continuum of services for troubled youth and the need to develop a more extensive system of transitional services for youths who leave juvenile facilities.

Other problems are not pertinent only to New Mexico - they're nationwide, Bond-Maupin said. These include an inadequate number of available mental health treatment beds for adolescents, the disproportionate detention and incarceration of minority youth, and the overuse of pretrial juvenile detention because of a lack of viable alternatives. Some New Mexico counties are working with CYFD and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to develop initiatives to reduce juvenile incarceration and provide alternatives to pretrial detention, she added.

Another challenge facing the state is the history of an adult correctional model in parts of the juvenile justice system. Bond-Maupin said that from her experience, a paradigm shift toward a youth services or youth development model will contribute to the system's success. This must be accompanied by institutional cultural change in some areas "and a well-articulated mission to which all are not only truly committed but toward which all are fully prepared."

Emphasizing delinquency prevention would serve New Mexicans better than relying on intervention only after youth are in serious trouble, Bond-Maupin said.

"We can all improve the situation by supporting alternatives to zero tolerance policies in our schools; supporting non-punitive approaches to substance abuse prevention and intervention; giving of our time and resources to young people; being good and consistent adult role models of nonviolence, honesty and integrity; and working to provide a host of after-school educational and work-experience opportunities for youth of all ages and incomes. We need to have the courage to join together with young people to strategize and build and we need the political will to be creative."

Retired New Mexico Children's Court Judge Tommy Jewell will serve as facilitator. Other commission members include Sandra Perez, director of the State Personnel Office; George Davis, a doctor of psychiatry; Claire Dudley, director of the New Mexico Children's Cabinet; Dave Schmidt, chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and member of the New Mexico Council on Crime and Delinquency; Danny Sandoval, CYFD deputy secretary; and Mark Steward, a retired Missouri juvenile justice expert.