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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Tribunal Metropolitano del Condado de Bernalillo

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New Treatment Program Announces First Graduate

10/16/2019

One year after the Substance Use and Treatment Options Program (STOP) launched at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, the program is proud to announce its first graduate.  

Fernando LeClere formally graduated from the program in late October after overcoming drug addiction and re-establishing footing with his family, his church and his career.
 
“Fernando came into our program with felony shoplifting convictions.  He was feeding an addiction and on the road to more-serious criminal activity,” said Judge Jill M. Martinez, who presides over the program.  “With a son at home and new baby on the way, he came to realize that he needed help and had many reasons to get it.” 
  
STOP serves offenders who have been charged with non-violent, felony substance-use related crimes, which have been pled down to misdemeanors.  The program focuses primarily on individuals charged with auto theft.  STOP is Metro Court’s first Specialty Court that specifically serves the felony population. 
 
“Fernando is a perfect example of why we started this program.  His offenses weren’t making the news, but his criminal behavior was escalating quickly.  The program intervenes during this critical period and works to help a person address their addiction head-on.  This is not an easy program, and people have to want to change.  We’re pleased with the results we’re seeing,” added Judge Martinez.
  
With a strong support system, Mr. LeClere progressed though the five phases of the program without relapse or violations.  Like all participants, he was required to: report to probation, undergo random drug and alcohol testing, meet face-to-face with Judge Martinez to assess progress and possible setbacks, undergo intensive outpatient treatment, attend weekly group therapy sessions, participate in supplemental therapy (ie. meditation, support groups), integrate learned skills for sobriety and pro-social behaviors, and complete a thorough aftercare plan. STOP follows the nationally-recognized Drug Court Model, which is proven to change behavior and reduce future criminal activity.  

“Fernando has overcome a lot, and we are proud to welcome him back as a contributing member of our community,” said Judge Martinez. 

Participation in the program is voluntary, and those eligible to participate must be at least 18 years of age, have an identified treatment need or issue substantially related to the offense, not have a history of violent felony charges, and the current offense must not be of a violent nature.  

Funding for STOP comes from Metro Court’s General Fund and federal grants that were awarded to the court in 2016 and 2018 to enhance its Specialty Court Programs.  The grants provide participants in STOP access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, Trauma-Informed Care, Psychiatric Care, alcohol and GPS monitoring devices, increased lab verified drug testing and case management services.  Treatment services are provided by First Nations Community Healthsource, which also provides participants a long-term care plan upon completion of the program.  

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