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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Tribunal Metropolitano del Condado de Bernalillo

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Judge Walton Talks Realities of Prison with Sandia High Crime & Punishment Class


A group of students listening to a presentation

The students swarmed in with head phones, full of hallway conversation and the latest social media buzz…all of that quickly faded as Metro Court Judge Sharon Walton started on about her days fresh out of law school as a prison warden at the state penitentiary.  She took the kids back in time, going through the events of the notorious 1980 prison riot; the perfect storm…the permanent mark on state history.  The students stared on with wide eyes and open ears.  Judge Walton then talked about her time as warden years later and the lasting effects the riot had and the new policies put in place to prevent something like it from happening again.

She then talked about her work now as a Judge, and how it’s not always about punishment when getting through to people…the Court has a number of Specialty Court Programs that address underlying issues that often lie at the root of criminal behavior.  Judge Walton presides over one of the programs, the Court’s Domestic Violence Repeat Offender Program (DVROP).  For many who enter into the programs, it’s the first time they’ve ever been offered help, and statistics show, those who complete the programs never come back into the criminal justice system again.

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