Santa Fe Juvenile Program Focuses On Jail Prevention

Aug 18, 2016

The Santa Fe Juvenile Justice Board is hearing an update on its budget Thursday. The city plans to continue directing funds towards programs that aim to keep kids out of the criminal justice system.

Santa Fe’s Juvenile Justice Program has just over $133,000 in funding this year—that’s not a lot of money, but youth and family services planner Richard DeMella says it will be enough to get kids into programs that help steer them away from jail.

"The idea of taking somebody and locking them up and throwing away the key is totally ineffective," he said, adding that this year’s budget will pay for drug court tutoring programs, counseling for boys and girls, and food and clothing for kids, among other things.

"We really need to understand the overall effect of substance abuse in the home, mental health, and most of all poverty," DeMella said. "To me those are the three biggest issues we face."

This year Santa Fe will add a focus on collaborations between the city, county and state on juvenile justice and poverty programs.