The United States has an extremely high rate of incarceration and that trend carries over to our young people. Many experts blame zero tolerance policies that require suspension or expulsion on the first offense for a variety of behaviors. Also, many schools now have law enforcement officers handling issues, rather than school personnel. In New Mexico, male students of color who have disabilities are more likely to arrested, referred to the justice system, suspended or expelled.
Watch this month’s PUBLIC SQUARE “Incarceration or Graduation,” Thursday, June 25 at 7:00 pm on Channel 5.1, hosted and produced by Megan Kamerick. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE is provided in part by grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and American Graduate.
Nationwide, we pay nearly $8.2 billion each year to confine young people. In 2014, in Bernalillo County alone, we paid $4.7 million on juvenile confinement. The resulting costs are fewer high school graduates who will earn less, possibly commit crimes and rely on public assistance.
PUBLIC SQUARE explores ways to keep kids off the path to incarceration with students, advocates, education experts and officials from the justice system. Community leaders include Joseph Escobedo of Albuquerque Public Schools, Tonna Burgos with Rio Rancho Public Schools, and Judge John Romero, presiding judge of the children’s court division in the Second Judicial District.
Funding for the production of this Public Square program is provided by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation working to improve the lives of vulnerable children. This program is the result of a partnership with Mission: Graduate and funded locally by the United Way of Central New Mexico. And, this program is part of American Graduate, let’s make it happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:
“To put a youth in detention one day, over night lowers the graduation rate 50 percent for youth who have problems in school already.”
– Gerri Bachica, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Coordinator, Bernalillo County
“Not only were we setting them up for that first contact in the juvenile justice system, but that was actually planting the seed for potential adult incarceration.”
– Patricio Ruiloba, School Resource Officer, Atrisco Heritage Academy
“This is serious issue and so we have to address it. It’s been ignored for far too long.”
– Joseph Escobedo, Chief Equity & Engagement Officer, ABQ Public Schools
“We look at third grade test scores to predict how many prison beds we’ll need.”
– Rosie Garibaldi, NM Youth Alliance / NM Forum for Youth in Community
“I never got that high school experience because I was always locked up.”
– Alyssa Lopez, Leaders Organizing to Unite and Decriminalize
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Coordinator
Bernallilo County Youth Services Center continues to help drive juvenile justice systems reform in the State of New Mexico. Systems reform efforts are guided by the eight core strategies of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) of the Annie E. Casey foundation. As JDAI coordinator in Bernalillo County she has oversight of the data team and a responsibility to work with the State’s multiple data collection systems, and its staff to ensure quality data for quality measurement of outcomes.
Before joining JDAI she was Behavioral Health Manager/Juvenile Justice Specialist
Children Youth and Families Department, State of New Mexico
Dr. Diego Gallegos
Former APS Assistant Superintendent
Dr. Diego Gallegos is recently retired from public education having previously served as an Assistant Superintendent with the Albuquerque Public Schools where he led the district’s student and community support services (health, mental health, family engagement and community schools), support to charter schools, Title IX coordinator, and leader of the district’s Cultural Proficiency initiative. He has been a public school teacher and administrator in New Mexico for thirty-nine years, including work as a coordinator of Special Education programs, a regional center director serving rural school districts, State Director of Special Education, and Assistant State Superintendent of Schools. He represented APS on the Hispano Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. And he was the lead on Hispano/Latino education issues for the District, facilitating the work of the District’s partnership with the Latino Education Improvement Taskforce known as the Hispano/Latino Academic Achievement Committee.
Estevan E. Gallegos
JPO Supervisor, Valencia County
New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, Juvenile Probation and Aftercare Services, Youth and Family Services District 13
505-565-3380 ext. 1203
New Mexico Youth Alliance / NM Forum for Youth in Community
Program Co-Director New Mexico Youth Alliance
Rosie Garibaldi, Co-Director of the New Mexico Youth Alliance, takes the lead on the Forum’s Racial Justice, Education Equity, and Juvenile Justice initiatives. Ms. Garibaldi is originally from Seattle, Washington and has been living in Albuquerque for almost two years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Seattle University and has aspirations to continue her education through graduate school, focusing on community based youth development and social justice. Ms. Garibaldi proudly developed strength and liberation through the empowering women in her family; her background and personal experiences as a young queer women of color shaped a desire and drive that has led her to a career in youth development.
Rosie currently has a fellowship with Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Applied Leadership Network with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Juvenile Justice Intervention Specialist
New Day Youth & Family Services
Director, NM Center for School Leadership
Tony Monfiletto is the Director of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership. The Center operates as a hub and incubator for the schools. He co-founded ACE and Health Leadership High Schools which are dedicated to the premise that “Learning by Doing,” 360 support, and the highest level of private industry collaboration can dramatically improve the opportunities for marginalized young people. Technology Leadership will be the third of five schools designed to provide the best education for the students who need it the most. Over the past 20 years, Tony has been actively involved in creating a policy climate that welcomes innovative solutions to our most challenging public school challenges.
He is a past staff member of the Legislative Education Study Committee in Santa Fe where he specialized in school finance and helped create the appropriations strategy for the state. He also worked in Chicago in the early 1990’s to help decentralized the district. This big picture context has been vital for positioning the Leadership High School Network in his home town of Albuquerque.
School Resource Officer / Police Officer
Patricio Ruiloba is a Democratic member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 12. He was first elected to the chamber in 2014. Ruiloba attended University of New Mexico and graduated from the Albuquerque Police Department, 62nd Cadet Class. His professional experience includes working as an officer for the Albuquerque Police Department and as a School Resource Officer at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School.
Attorney with Steven Granberg |Gail Stewart Attorney at Law, PA
Gail works at a small law firm based in Albuquerque she has more than 32 years experience focusing mainly on civil rights, employment, education, and personal injury law. They represent people who have been harmed by governments, employers, school systems, negligent parties and others who may have violated the state or federal Constitution, statutes, regulations, and court decisions (common law).
Executive Director of Student Services, Rio Rancho Public Schools District Office
Oversees all the programs in the Student Services Department for Rio Rancho Public Schools
APS Chief Equity & Engagement Officer
Formerly APS Superintendent’s Chief of Staff, Joseph also served as APS Director of Government Affairs and Communications Specialist. Prior to joining APS he was a News Producer, KOAT-TV at Action 7 News. He has a Masters in Public Administration and is working on a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
John J. Romero, Jr.
Presiding Judge Children’s Court Division 2nd Judicial District
Judge John Romero, Jr. is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Judge Romero began on the bench in 2003, as a District Court Judge, and also serves as a Therapeutic Court Judge over the Program for the Empowerment of Girls. He is a member of the New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium, has served on the NCJFCJ’s Family Violence and Juvenile and Family Law Department Advisory committees, and also served on the Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Revision Committee. He is a frequent trainer on issues related to juvenile justice and child welfare.