The Sandoval County adult probation program has received national recognition for the professional manner in which it works with its clients.
The recognition comes in the form of a three-year certificate of accreditation from the Adult Misdemeanor Compliance Accreditation Professional Standards Council. The council undertook an extensive, two-year review of the county’s program for supervising adults placed on probation for misdemeanor offenses that can include DWI or domestic violence.
The Sandoval County program received its official certificate of accreditation on January 19, 2017 at the New Mexico Association Counties’ Legislative Conference in Santa Fe.
The association of counties has joined the New Mexico Municipal League in urging local probation programs across New Mexico to pursue accreditation. The goal is to have all such programs in the state adhering to uniform standards and implementing polices that are based on valid, reliable research and exemplary probation practices. The association also believes this accreditation will promote the adoption of socially responsible and humane probation supervision practices that ultimately will improve relationships with the communities served.
The benefits of high standards
The Sandoval County program is an example of the benefits of striving for such high standards. As the program was been acknowledged for receiving its accreditation at the February 2, 2017 meeting of the Sandoval County Commission, the following was revealed:
• The program’s five compliance officers are supervising roughly 800 individuals at any given time.
• Program staff provides counseling and treatment—include drug and alcohol rehabilitation services—to many of these clients.
• The program has a recidivism rate of less than 5%, and has been able to document a sizable decrease in both domestic violence and substance abuse in many communities across the county.
Octavian Valencia, the program’s accreditation manager, also related stories of program staff intervening to prevent clients from committing suicide or navigate other personal crises.
“Accreditation sets the bar higher for every staff member in terms of professional expectation,” said Diane Irwin, the program’s director. “Additionally, accreditation lends credibility to programs seeking funding from state agencies and other grantors by establishing a clear indication of program stability and attention to industry best practices. As such, accreditation offers a boost in citizens’ understanding of and confidence in the agency mission, policies, practices and professionalism.”