Re-envisioning Diversion Through Community Engagement 

2022 Recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences Community-Based Research Initiative

Research shows that the criminal legal system (CLS) causes inequalities and that the CLS footprint could be reduced through community engagement. Through this innovative new project, researchers are working with community members and practitioners to re-envision diversion practices within the First Judicial District of New Mexico to minimize CLS involvement and inequalities among juveniles (12-17) and young adults (18-25).  

The project is being led by a multidisciplinary team including faculty, graduate students, researchers, and practitioners from the Departments of Sociology, Economics, Public Health the New Mexico Sentencing Commission, Center on Alcohol Substance Use and Addictions (CASAA), and the First District Attorney’s office. The team is in the process of building community partners who will help craft research components of the project and inform diversion practices.  

The project will lead to practices that divert youth from New Mexico’s CLS in ways that enhance wellbeing and address racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender inequalities. The practices will serve as prototypes that could be implemented in New Mexico and beyond. 

The project is multifaceted and funded through several grants. The PI of the Community-Based Research Initiative is Noah Painter-Davis, associate professor of Sociology and the Co-PI is Lisa Broidy, distinguished professor and chair of Sociology. The Community Building Team includes Anastacia Romero, a graduate student in Public Health; Neil Greene a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center on Alcohol Substance Use and Addictions (CASAA); Verlin Joseph, a Postdoctoral Fellow at CASAA; and PhD candidates in Sociology, Libby Vigil, Katie Rickers. 

Read more about this project here.


Team members on other aspects of the project include: 

Jennifer Padgett Macias, Managing District Attorney, First District Attorney's Office  

Morgan Wood, Assistant District Attorney, First District Attorney's Office

Linda Freeman, Executive Director, New Mexico Sentencing Commission  

Christopher Lyons, Professor, Department of Sociology  

Margo Hurlocker, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology  

Steven Verney, Professor, Department of Psychology  

Thaneshwar Paneru, Doctoral Student, Economics Department  

Eunice Kim, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology  

Alexandra Hernandez-Vallant; Clinical Psychology; Doctoral Fellow UNM Center for Social Policy 

Magdalene Bernier, Undergraduate Criminology Major, Department of Sociology

Davyd Setter, PhD candidate, Sociology

Kodiak Ly, PhD candidate, Sociology