This award recognizes those individuals, programs, or organizations that have performed in an exemplary manner during the past year to advance the spirit and ideas that the current State Bar president has identified as his or her particular emphasis for the year. The emphasis for 2013 is reflected in the theme of the 2013 Annual Meeting, which is “Bench and Bar: Improving the Quality of Justice Together.” With that theme in mind, it’s fitting that the State Bar Anniversary Award be given to a group that works every day to improve the quality of justice in New Mexico. In the case of this year’s recipient, justice has worked not only to improve the quality of the lives of individuals, but also of all citizens in our state. The recipient of the 2013 Anniversary Award is the New Mexico Drug Court Programs.
Drug courts work with repeat offenders whose criminal activity is driven by underlying substance abuse or mental illness. The purpose of the program is to offer non-traditional and individualized treatment for chemical dependency as an alternative to criminal prosecution. These programs focus on the successful rehabilitation of participants through early, continuous, and intense judicial oversight, treatment, mandatory drug testing, and use of appropriate sanctions, incentives, and other community-based rehabilitation services. In New Mexico, we have four types of drug courts: Adult, Juvenile, Family Dependency, DWI, and Mental Health courts, all of which come under the term, “Problem-Solving Courts.”
Based on Fiscal Year 2012, our New Mexico programs demonstrated excellent performance when compared with national averages.
In a message delivered during National Drug Court Month this past May, President Barack Obama praised the nation’s drugs courts as a critical part of our strategies to provide alternatives to incarceration for drug-addicted offenders. President Obama praised drugs courts for breaking the cycle of drug abuse and crime, and annually transforming the lives of thousands of citizens in need of treatment.
We honor those among us who have reached milestones in their legal careers—those attorneys and judges with 25 and 50 years of service to the profession and to the citizens of New Mexico.