I am not sure about that, but the Anthony case is a welcome opportunity to shine the light on our criminal justice system, what’s wrong and how to fix it. I have written much about the fact that as an insider, I believe that the only way to even attempt to fix out system is to turn it upside down. That means focus on the after prison or “Re-Entry” component. I believe there are three stages to our criminal justice system: the investigation/trial phase, the incarceration and re-entry.
Now, Casey Anthony is about to really experience what re-entry and probation are really like. Probation is designed to give people much need accountability as they transition back to society. As I said last week on CBS, Nancy Grace and Jane Velez Mitchell, there are two components that are usually needed to have a successful re-entry: Community ties and family relations and support. Obviously, Casey Anthony has neither. As a person who has worked with 100’s of people going through re-entry, it is possible to do so without these components, but it is a more difficult task. Just as an addict needs a support center, so does a person coming out of jail, what she does not need are ENABLERS. But, it looks like that’s exactly who she has. Recipe for disaster and a fast pass back to the slammer unless Anthony gets some real professional help.
But, first let’s look at some FACTS- Anthony is now ordered by Judge Belvin Perry to report back to Florida to begin serving one year of supervised probation. Not simple administrative probation, but supervised probation. That means, travel restrictions, random searches and U/A tests. She also must stay away from the victim in her check fraud case and get a JOB! What? Yes, a job. This is the interesting part as many people get around this by attending school, ordered mental health care etc…But, Anthony owes money to the IRS and also must pay her probation fee. She also may soon be ordered to pay money for the search for daughter Caylee. Plus, probation makes it much tougher for Casey to score a big money “tell all” deal.
Now, the probation officer assigned to Casey Anthony will have some say in the job/school issue. He may also allow her to write a written report by the 5th of the month with only sporadic home and office visits. But, Casey Anthony will learn that games and lies do not work with probation officers. I believe that Judge Perry was right to be upset with Jose Baez for not preparing his client for this and for trying to pull one over on the court. A poor example for Casey herself. In fact, technically Casey Anthony is in violation of her probation right now as she left the state and has not begun probation.
Another fact is that like many people, Casey Anthony may be able to transfer her probation to another State. However, to qualify for this you must have a good reason. Valid reasons include family support in the other state, a better job and in some cases a rehab program. My guess is that the Baez team will be arguing the rehab issue and claim that she has already begun a program, so a transfer is needed. Convenient right? Well, rest assured that the Probation department will check it all out as will Judge Perry.
For now, these are the facts. I have been there done that and the moment I prepare a client for prison, I begin to prepare them for re-entry. It is no joke. Let’s stop making it a joke and look at what needs to happen for everyone involved. This insider knows that people do learn from probation and in most cases it is very helpful.