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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court


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Metro Court’s DWI Recovery Court receives national leadership award

July 24, 2023

Photographed from left to right: Vicki Johnston, Tanya Rabinowitz, Andrew McCants, Judge Christine E. Rodriguez, Adam Manthei, Natalya Nieto, Nayeli Carmona-Olivas, Kathleen Hartford

A local program that has helped thousands of participants achieve sobriety has been recognized as a leader among DWI Courts nationwide.

Metro Court’s DWI Recovery Court received the prestigious DWI Court Leadership Award at this year’s National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) conference. Recognized as one of the longest-serving DWI/Drug Courts in the country, the DWI Recovery Court was credited for its continued evolution while adhering to the program’s key components and principles.

“I could not be more proud of our team and the life-changing work being done through this program,” said Judge Christine E. Rodriguez, who has presided over the DWI Recovery Court for four years.    “We strive to tailor treatment modalities to the specific needs of each participant and offer specialized counseling so that those in the program can more effectively address issues that have led to their addiction. In turn, we are creating a safer community.”

Established in 1997, the DWI Recovery Court provides intensive court supervision, alcohol & drug screening, substance use counseling, and community based self-help for high-risk defendants convicted of subsequent misdemeanor DWI offenses in the Metropolitan Court.

As one of the first DWI/Drug Courts in the country, the DWI Recovery Court has continued to evolve and incorporate best practices into the fabric of the program, which has produced more than 3,700 graduates.

With a graduation recidivism rate of 4.28% and guided by the ten key components of DWI Courts, the program strives to be inclusive and serves not only repeat DWI offenders suffering from substance abuse but also participants who have co-occurring disorders. The program also offers a Spanish language track and groups for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.

The program aims to treat each participant as a whole, and in addition to counseling, various services such as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and peer support are offered. The Specialty Court provides case management services and assists participants with things such as medical insurance, rental assistance, and obtaining employment. The current employment rate for graduates is 87.50%.

The program recently established an alumni group as a means of continued support among graduates and as a resource for current participants on the road to recovery.