816 North Main Street
Clovis, NM 88101
Phone: (575) 763-7725
Fax: (575) 763-7267
Curry County administers four programs for at-risk youth: Girls Circle, Boys Council, Juvenile Citation Program and Return To School/Truancy Program. These programs are provided to youth that have demonstrated specific behaviors that have caused them to be referred to the Juvenile Probation & Parole Office or have come into contact with law enforcement or school officials.
From a juvenile justice perspective delinquent behavior is divided into two categories: “status” offenses and “delinquency” offenses. Status offenses are those acts which would not be considered offenses if committed by an adult; they include acts such as truancy (skipping school), running away, incorrigible (beyond control of one’s parents) alcohol possession or use, and curfew violations. Delinquency offenses involve destruction or theft of property, commission of violent crimes against persons, illegal weapon possession, and possession or sale of illegal drugs.
The Curry County Youth Services Office works closely with the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office and the local school districts. All of these programs are grant-funded by the State of New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and overseen by the Curry County Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC).
Juvenile Citation Program:
This program aims to prevent further delinquency and to ensure that a youth’s offenses are appropriately addressed without creating a criminal record. This program is ranked as a Diversion Program under the guidelines of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The Juvenile Probation and Parole Office receive a referral from law enforcement in regards to a juvenile. This referral may be in the form of a citation, report, warrant or probable cause arrest. The Juvenile Probation and Parole Office will perform a Preliminary Inquiry and based on their assessment may choose to refer the case to the Curry County Citation Program for Informal Services. Once the referral is received by the Youth Services Office, staff will meet with the youth and their parents to work out an Individualized Service Plan. This may include attending the Girls Circle or Boys Council groups, attending Life Skills classes at Matt 25 Hope Center, writing apology letters or reports, taking an online shoplifting offense-specific course if deemed appropriate and completing community service hours. Each youth is required to participate fully in the program.
Advantages of this program include:
- Keeping youth that pose no real threats to public safety out of the juvenile justice system
- Reducing the costs of processing youth for misdemeanors that take time and resources away from the juvenile justice system including: law enforcement, state attorneys, public defenders, probation, and court personnel
- Freeing up limited resources to focus on more serious and violent offenders thus improving public safety
The Juvenile Citation Program is grant-funded by the State of New Mexico’s Children Youth & Families Department.
Return To School/Truancy Program:
This program focuses on boys and girls who are considered to be disengaged from school based on poor attendance, lack of academic progress and behavior referrals including out-of-school suspensions or expulsions. According to the New Mexico Compulsory School Attendance Laws, school-age persons shall attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution until the school-age person is at least eighteen years of age unless that person has graduated from high school or received a general educational development certificate.
The Youth Services Office receives a referral from the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office for excessive absenteeism, suspension or expulsion. Staff meets with these juveniles and their families to discuss underlying issues that may be affecting why the youth is having problems in school and what can be done to correct this. The Youth Services Office will monitor and track the youth’s attendance by keeping in contact with the schools and visiting with the youth on a regular basis. If the youth has been suspended or expelled, the Youth Services Office will follow a similar Service Plan used in the Citation Program that may include attending the Boys and Girls groups, attending Life Skills classes at Matt 25 Hope Center or completing community service hours if deemed appropriate.
Girls Circle model, a structured support group for girls from 9-18 years, integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training in a specific format designed to increase positive connection, personal and collective strengths, and competence in girls. It aims to counteract social and interpersonal forces that impede girls’ growth and development by promoting an emotionally safe setting and structure within which girls can develop caring relationships and use authentic voices.
All girls ages 9-18 are welcome to attend Girls Circle. Girls Circles are most often held weekly for 1 1/2 to two hours. Each week a facilitator leads a group of girls through a format that includes each girl taking turns talking and listening to one another respectfully about their concerns and interests. The girls express themselves further through creative or focused activities such as role playing, drama, journaling, poetry, drama, dance, drawing, collage, clay, and so on. Gender specific themes and topics are introduced which relate to the girls’ lives, such as being a girl, trusting themselves, friendships, body image, goals, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, competition, and decision-making. Curry County runs Girls Circle throughout the school year and hold special groups in the summer.
The Council is a strengths-based group approach to promote boys’ and young men’s safe and healthy passage through pre-teen and adolescent years. The Council meets a core developmental need in boys for strong, positive relationships. In this structured environment, boys and young men gain the vital opportunity to address masculine definitions and behaviors and build their capacities to find their innate value and create good lives – individually and collectively!
Each week, a group of six to ten boys of similar age and development meet with a facilitators for 1.5 to 2 hours. These meetings are held for ten weeks or more, depending on the capacity of the setting.
The group format includes warm up activities, a “council” type check in opportunity, experiential activities that address relevant topics, and a reflection and group dialogue component. The focused activities may include group challenges, games, skits or role plays, arts, and so on. Topics may address:
- the male “box”
- valuing diversity
- safe expression of emotions
- defining power from multiple perspectives
- influences of mentors and role models
- rejecting violence
- becoming allies with girls and women
- mentoring and making a difference with others
- making safe and healthy decisions for themselves
- finding and living with value in difficult times
Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC):
Our Juvenile Justice Committee was first established by resolution in 2002 by a small group of concerned citizens led by Commissioner Tim Ashley and Commissioner Ed Perales. They began looking for better ways to deal with juvenile crimes in our community. This group looked into programs that other communities had already started, particularly programs in Deming and Silver City. Local law enforcement officials thought that a Juvenile Citation Program such as the one run by Luna County would work well in Curry County.
In 2003, the Juvenile Justice Committee applied for funding from CYFD for the Juvenile Continuum Grant to run a Juvenile Citation Program. At this time, the City of Clovis served as the fiscal agent. One of the requirements of the grant was that a local advisory board be created to oversee the program, which is now known as the Curry County Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
In 2004, member participation of the committee was at an all-time low. With only three active members remaining, the committee was disbanded and it was decided that they would no longer seek funding from CYFD.
In 2005, the New Mexico Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, which is the legislative body that oversees the Juvenile Justice funding from CYFD, decided to award funding to the City of Clovis for the Juvenile Citation Program even though an application was not submitted. A new Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee was formed.
In 2010, Curry County took over as the new fiscal agent for the Juvenile Continuum Grant. At this time the committee oversaw the Juvenile Citation Program, the Return to School Program, the Boys Council and Girls Circle Programs.
The committee has grown to include representatives from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Clovis Municipal Schools, Clovis Chaplain’s Association, City of Clovis, Curry County, JPPO, CYFD Protective Services Division, United Way, Workforce Connections, Matt 25, New Mexico Health Department, Clovis Police Department, Curry County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police, local supporters and concerned citizens.
Today JJAC continues to oversee the Juvenile Citation Program, the Return to School/Truancy Program, and the Boys and Girls Programs.
The mission of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, a diverse group of community partners, is to equip Curry County youth with the skills, tools, knowledge, and support necessary to lead more successful lives, through new and existing prevention, intervention, awareness and recovery programs.
Our purpose is to provide: public awareness of youth issues, development of strategies to assure a rapid response to youth in crisis, data collection and analysis to determine needs and risk profile, resource assessment and identification of the service gaps in the community, prioritization of services, coordination of agency/department policies to enhance the service continuum and promotion of the use of science-based service delivery models.
Curry County is one of seventeen Continuum Sites around the state of New Mexico. Each Continuum site provides various cost effective services such as:
- Prevention for youth at risk of entering the juvenile justice system
- Alternatives to detention
- Alternatives to school suspension
- Innovative evidence based programs for high risk youth that reduce recidivism
- Gender based programming
- Disproportion minority reduction programming