Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $249,208)
This award is made under the FY 2006 Tribal Courts Assistance Program and it supports the development, implementation, enhancement, and continuing operation of tribal justice systems. Allowable elements under the program may include, but are not limited to: establishing a core structure for a tribal court, improving case management, training court personnel, acquiring additional equipment and/or software, enhancing prosecution and indigent defense, supporting probation diversion and alternative sentencing programs, accessing services, focusing on juvenile services and multi disciplinary protocols for child physical and sexual abuse, and structuring intertribal or tribal appellate systems.
The Mescalero Apache Tribe is a current recipient of a BJA-funded 2003 TCAP award that supports the automation of the Mescalero Community Alternative Court's (MCAC) case management system. Currently, the court is managing an increasing case load by utilizing a combination of manual and electronic means. This tracking method is time-consuming, cost-inefficient, and limits the tribe's ability to record, manage, analyze, and share pertinent data, as required by law. To facilitate case tracking, the court will convert to a computer-based, information management system with versatile functionality. Also, the Mescalero Tribe has been coping with a number of drug and alcohol-related issues on its reservation while experiencing extraordinary financial losses due to decreased external [monetary] support. While the Tribe's budget is declining, its court's caseload is expanding to include legal actions involving alcohol and substance abuse among the Apache population. In addition, the Mescalero has noted that its tribe is rapidly losing its traditional language and culture.
The Mescalero Tribe will utilize the 2006 TCAP award to address these areas of concern by enhancing existing MCAC operations via the following goals: (1) Pay the salaries of the drug court coordinator and drug court assistant coordinator; (2) provide additional drug court training to MCAC personnel; (3) enhance MCAC services by incorporating a voluntary Apache language and culture component available to clients undergoing drug and alcohol treatment; and (4) conduct a thorough evaluation of the Mescalero's tribal court program. Federal funds will cover personnel and fringe; drug court training (registration and travel costs); supplies (office, drug test kits, and acupuncture materials); contracted services (defense counsel, cultural counselor, Apache medicine people, and program evaluation); and operational expenses (photocopying). The Mescalero Tribe will provide matching funds to support judicial, prosecutorial, and probation personnel; computer equipment; case management software and training; contracted Apache teachers; and operational expenses (telephone and office space).