Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court
Local Specialty Court Selected as National Mentor Court
June 6, 2023
Judge Renée Torres
The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court’s Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court was recently named a Mentor Court for similar programs across the country. The Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) selected the program citing its adherence to best practice principles of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and to the 10 Key Components of Healing to Wellness Courts. The Metro Court program has specifically been selected to mentor a court out of Seattle that has experienced setbacks in getting its Healing to Wellness Court off the ground.
“I am tremendously proud of our Healing to Wellness team and all of its hard work. We have a lot of knowledge to share with the mentee court, and we look forward to collaborating with them to help them achieve the success we have seen with our participants. Teamwork has been the key to our success, and I am committed to ensuring that we continuously strive to do our best in order to have the greatest positive impact on the community,” said Judge Renée Torres, who has presided over the Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court for six years now.
The Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court takes a holistic approach to achieve the spiritual and physical recovery for self-identified Native Americans with two or more DWI convictions, while still holding them accountable. The intensive year-long program uses traditional wellness principles to meet the needs of its participants who are from numerous tribes, through groups such as Food As Medicine, Women’s and Men’s Wellness, Cultural Enrichment, Traditional Arts, Talking Circles and others designed to build a sense of community and to reconnect participants to their culture.
Forty-one participants are currently in the program, and as of March of this year, the program recorded a 5.77% recidivism rate amongst those who successfully graduate.
As a mentor court, Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court allows the Mentee Court to observe staffing and court sessions and will meet regularly for peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
To be selected as a Mentor Court, the Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court underwent intensive vetting to include a rigorous application process, ongoing communication with TLPI, numerous meetings, and interviews with the entire multidisciplinary team.