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First Judicial District Arrest Policies Project: Santa Fe, New Mexico

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
23 pages
This report presents the findings and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Arrest Program in the First Judicial District in New Mexico (Santa Fe), which has been funded under a Federal grant intended to encourage jurisdictions to adopt mandatory or proarrest policies as an effective domestic-violence intervention that is part of a coordinated community response to domestic violence.
A description of the project environment includes data on the demographics of Santa Fe County, an overview of New Mexico legislation relevant to domestic violence, and a review of law enforcement's and the court system's handling of domestic-violence cases. A section on the goals of the Arrest Project notes that its goals have changed since the grant's inception, because the initial focus of the project, i.e., the creation of a domestic violence diversion program, was deemed by the Federal grantor to be outside of the parameters of the grant program. Current project goals are to continue the Domestic Violence Unit in the District Attorney's Office; to better assist victims of domestic violence in obtaining protection orders by hiring a court advocate to work with the local shelter; to provide judicial oversight rather than diversion for perpetrators of domestic violence; to develop a case-tracking system for domestic-violence cases; and to include the Native American Tribal Nations in community education on domestic violence. The evaluation of the project involved a site visit, during which staff interviews were conducted. Current challenges facing the Domestic Violence Unit are identified in the areas of case screening, unit staff turnover, a judiciary unfamiliar with the rules of evidence in domestic-violence cases, victim cooperation, and counseling for victims. Although project goals were met and the District Attorney's Office has seen an increase in the number of domestic-violence cases prosecuted over the past 3 years, recommendations are offered for improvement in the areas of victim and advocate testimony, guidelines for the Coordinated Community Intervention Program (a court-mandated program for domestic-violence offenders), and collaboration with law enforcement.

Date Published: February 1, 2000