The courts and the justice system has an image problem in New Mexico.
When you look at recent headlines in our state, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise: A Judge is accused and pleads guilty to DWI; A Sheriff is caught selling his departments bullet proof vests on eBay; An entire police department is dismantled for running guns to Mexican cartels; An officer involved in a fatal shooting lists his occupation on Facebook as “human waste disposal”.
In the words of the Osmond family, “One Bad Apple don’t spoil the whole darn bunch”… but the bad apples sure give everyone else a black eye.
In the 2011 Garrity Perception Survey, New Mexico residents rated the “courts and the justice system” as the 14th least favorable out of 16 industries, finishing just behind “major business corporations” and just ahead of the “commercial construction industry.”
Residents in the South/Southwestern part of New Mexico give the most favorable rating to the courts and justice system; while those in the Eastern part of the state provide some of the lowest marks, according to the Garrity Perception Survey. Residents in Albuquerque Metro, Northwest and North Central parts of New Mexico are lukewarm to the courts and justice system. The strongest advocates for the courts and justice system have a landline telephone, earn less than $20,000 a year and have been lived in New Mexico for 8-20 years.
How can the “Courts and Justice System” increase their favorability? For starters, the industry, as a whole, can increase favorability by focusing on their respective missions. There are a number of talented and dedicated officers of the court and law enforcement, in addition to doing their jobs, they need to connect with their communities and show compassion to those they serve.
Often times audiences don’t understand complex and unapproachable systems. The courts and justice system, through its various entities could connect with advocacy groups, serving as a connection to the “system” they are trying to impact. That personal connection can be the first step to bridging an understanding of a complicated and sometimes courts and justice system.