Skip directly to content

CYFD Cabinet Secretary, NM Supreme Court Chief Justice, NMJJAC Gathered Thursday In Los Alamos

on October 25, 2015 - 11:26pm
From left, NMJJAC Chair Sharon Stover, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson  and New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil in Council Chambers Thursday in the Municipal Building. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
NMJJAC members gather Thursday morning in Council Chambers to discuss youth issues. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Staff Report

The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) met Thursday in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building in downtown Los Alamos.

JJAC Chair Sharon Stover opened the meeting and Municipal Judge Alan Kirk welcomed the committee to Los Alamos. Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson and New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil were among those who spoke at the meeting.

Chief Justice Vigil discussed the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a nationally recognized, evidence-based juvenile justice system reform project launched in 1992 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The focus starts with detention for several reasons:

  • National crowding crisis in secure detention facilities
  • Negative impact of secure detention on youth
  • Lack of public safety results from the use of secure detention
  • High cost of secure detention, and
  • Critical entry to overall juvenile justice system change

Essentially, the purpose of JDAI is to demonstrate that jurisdictions can safely reduce reliance on secure detention while maintaining public safety. The engagement of JDAI is also an approach used to address and reduce the level of disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) in the juvenile justice system.

During Thursday's meeting, JJAC members discussed additional youth issues and resources. The members of JJAC are appointed by the Governor and the committee is advisory to CYFD (Children Youth and Families Department), the Governor and the Legislature. The JJAC advocates for the prevention of delinquency, alternatives to secure detention, improvement of the juvenile justice system and the development of a continuum of graduated sanctions for juveniles in local communities. The JJAC allocates federal and state grant funds to communities in New Mexico for these purposes.

Twenty regional Juvenile Justice Continuum Boards have been developed in communities across the state to address the goals of the state advisory group, JJAC. Regional Juvenile Justice Continuum Boards:

  • Analyze local trends that put youth at risk
  • Assess community resource gaps that effect youth and families
  • Build partnerships with key community leaders that positively impact policy regarding youth
  • Fund programming that directly impacts the concerns and issues facing our youth
  • Involve community leaders and experts to address youth and family issues

Following the morning meeting Thursday in Council Chambers, the group traveled by Atomic City Transit to the new Teen Center for lunch, a tour and remarks by Secretary Jacobson.

JJAC meets throughout the year in communities across New Mexico.


Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richards, right, is a member of the Los Alamos Juevenile Justice Advisory Board and Los Alamos Municipal Judge Alan Kirk, center, is board chair. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
NMJJAC members ride the Atomic City Transit bus Thursday to the Teen Center for lunch, a tour and further discussion of youth issues. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Teen Center Director Sylvan Argo and Assistant Director George Marsden show off their new center to the JJAC members. Photo by Chris Clark/
Following lunch for the NMJJAC group and a tour of the new Los Alamos Teen Center, CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson speaks about youth issues and resources. Photo by Chris Clark/
CYFD Cabinet Monique Jacobson. Photo by Chris Clark/
NMJJAC Chair Sharon Stover and CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson speak to the group gathered at the Los Alamos Teen Center. Photo by Chris Clark/
Overall view of main lobby. Photo by Chris Clark/
Teen Center director Sylvan Argo leads part of the crowd on a tour of the entire building and discusses the features of each room. Photo by Chris Clark/
Music room. Photo by Chris Clark/
Lounge area of the music room. Photo by Chris Clark/
View of Ashley Pond from inside the Teen Center. Photo by Chris Clark/
Tons of boardgames! Photo by Chris Clark/
Video game room with lounge furniture and a wall mural still in progress. Photo by Chris Clark/
Local teens playing video games in the game room. Photo by Chris Clark/
Work study room. Photo by Chris Clark/
Art studio. Photo by Chris Clark/
An assortment of paintings and drawings by local teens. Photo by Chris Clark/
Teen Center Director Sylvan Argo shows tour group some of the upstairs rooms, which include spaces for a Medical Nurse, Yoga studio, and more. Photo by Chris Clark/
Yoga mats, pillows, blankets and blocks. Photo by Chris Clark/