The Eighth Judicial District Court recently received Gold Certification Level recognition for its Taos Adult Drug Court (TADC) from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
“[AOC] is responsible for reviewing how we do our work and reporting back to the Supreme Court for following best practices that are set out in New Mexico for treatment court,” said Eighth Judicial District Court officer Karl Brooks.
Brooks said that the Eighth Judicial District Court was more successful than any other treatment court in New Mexico by AOC standards.
“I think what they looked at was our record of success, and helping drug court participants maintain sobriety; our application of the best psychological and alcohol therapy methods,” said Brooks.
Brooks attributes others to help the court achieve the certification such as efforts from law enforcement, various treatment programs, the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office and Judge Emilio Chavez.
“[Chavez] keeps our staff focused, he keeps community members focused and he has the ability to look at participants in the eye and say, ‘You've got to step up and you’re capable of more and better than this.’ I’ve seen the effect that has on participants and it’s really pretty powerful,” said Brooks.
In a press release from the Eighth Judicial District Court, he stated that TADC offers “highly structured long-term treatment that ensures public safety, reduces recidivism, and supports participants in becoming sober, productive contributing members of the Taos County community.”
“When it comes to actual numbers since September of 1999 we’ve estimated we’ve had over 550 participants in the drug court program, we were able to reduce recidivism by providing mental health and substance abuse help,” said Drug Court Program Manager Gino Unzueta San Miguel.
Additionally, the Eighth Judicial District Court was also recently recognized for having the best pro bono committee among the 14 districts by the New Mexico Legal Aid Program.