Recently I have several clients who have not done well on pre trial or after their cases have been resolved. There is ONE reason for this- these people lack passion. Low self esteem and fear plague everybody who is dealing with a crisis such as lack of freedom or newly restored freedom.
In every case I have urged Community Service to both empower my client, and to learn about new people and develop a passion. Yet, in every current case I have, the courts have FAILED to order Community service. Despite my best efforts the clients do not finish or participate at all.
The other aspect of Community Service that works so well is the Accountability it provides. Most people flourish under such accountability. People who are under great stress do well with structure. So, why do judges fail to understand this? Simple, our system is not only broken but also way out of date. It’s no wonder that recidivism is so high. We give people re-entering society very few tools, and without these tools success is much harder. I often say that Prison is easy, re-entry is the tough part. I firmly believe this. I can get anybody and their family prepared for a prison term, it is what happens after that matters. In fact, the moment that I prepare a person for prison I am also preparing them and their family for re-entry.
So, what can we do? Simply keep pushing forward, raising awareness to our system and what works and what doesn’t. The more we shine a light on how to succeed, the more we will get others to believe and succeed as well. For now- JUDGES- ORDER COMMUNITY SERVICE IN ADDITION TO THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE YOU WERE CONSIDERING.
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org