Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program
In recognizing the serious problem of domestic violence in our community, the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court initiated the Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program (EIP). This program targets domestic violence offenders without prior domestic violence or violent felony convictions. The goal of EIP is to intervene as early as possible in domestic violence cases to prevent recurrence of the incident and possible progression to more serious crimes.
The EIP court staff team consists of a program judge, probation officers and a program manager. This team maintains a close relationship with counseling professionals, victim advocates, and prosecution and defense attorneys involved in the case. All EIP participants are assessed for treatment for possible underlying issues such as mental health disorders and substance abuse. The programs duration is a minimum of twenty four weeks, and all participants are held accountable with supervision conditions. Non- compliance issues are dealt with immediately. Should a participant be removed from the program for non-compliance, the case will be returned to the original judge and placed back on the court docket.
EIP is a pre-prosecution program, and participants are not required to plea to a specific charge. The underlying charge(s) will be dismissed for successful participants. Eligibility for the program requires voluntary participation by the defendant, a recommendation by the District Attorney, as well as approval from the Court. Additional suitability and eligibility factors include but are not limited to: a thorough criminal history check, defendants willingness to recognize and be accountable for his/ her actions that lead to the alleged incident, to engage and complete domestic violence counseling, to comply with conditions of supervision, and to undergo random drug and alcohol screenings. The program judge then decides upon acceptance to the program. Upon successful completion of the EIP program, the defendants case is dismissed by the program judge as agreed upon.
The Honorable Nina Safier presides over the EIP program in addition to her regular court docket. Her EIP team consists of a Program Manager and EIP Probation Officers. The EIP program has one of the lowest recidivism rates of any specialty court program and this low rate of recidivism has been consistent since the inception of the program.
Traditional EIP Track
This track provides services for domestic violence offenders involving intimate partners. This track involves supervision and recognized domestic violence treatment.
Family EIP Track
The Family Track of EIP consists of participants who are involved in domestic violence incidents with a family member such as a parent or sibling. Along with probation supervision, Family Track participants may also be required to attend anger management counseling in addition to or in lieu of domestic violence treatment.
Aftercare EIP Track
In certain instances, participants may have already been enrolled in domestic violence treatment prior to entering EIP. Should the participant complete the required treatment prior to the required twenty-four week period of EIP, the probation officer will monitor the participant until completion of the required time period.