I’ve been working for a little over a year as a student associate at the Justice Programs Office (JPO). Most of my time is taken up by being graduate student at American University’s School of International Service but being a student associate at JPO has been a very rewarding part-time job. As an international affairs student, the daily legal issues I study are very different from those most students who focus on domestic government study. During our studies, we international affairs students observe whether a country adheres to the rule of law or we compare the philosophical underpinnings that countries use in designing legal or governmental systems. Rarely do we take a deep look at the American legal system or the American criminal justice system. My time here at JPO has built on my personal thoughts about the American criminal justice system and brought them into sharper focus.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of perception is “a result of perceiving,” “a mental image,” “awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation,” “quick, acute, and intuitive cognition,” or “a capacity for comprehension.” Perceptions are the way that we understand something and are often based on our knowledge of real events or our own life experiences. When it comes to our understanding of crime, our perceptions of crime can be based on experiencing crime as a victim ourselves, what we know about the criminal activity in our community from local news or conversations with neighbors, listening to political conversations about crime, or reading stories about criminal activity on social media.
Since a peak in the mid-nineties, the number of juveniles placed into secure detention has fallen dramatically, in part to due to a decrease in juvenile crime, and in part due to an increase in pre-trial diversion programs and post-adjudication alternatives to incarceration. These programs, such as the juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) I work with, seek to bring about behavior change and ensure public safety, without the iatrogenic consequences of incarceration.
If you’ve looked for a job in the last decade, there is a great chance that Indeed was your go-to search engine. With just a few clicks, thousands of vacant job opportunities were at your fingertips. Granted, many other job-seeking candidates applied for those same employment opportunities. According to Interview Success Formula, on average, companies receive 118 applications for each new position. I think it’s safe to say that the job market is competitive. It’s even harder for treatment court participants who may have a lack of education, limited skills, and/or a substance use disorder.
For me, summer is the sound of cicadas, the sight of lightning bugs, and the setting off on a family vacation. My mother was a teacher and my dad a farmer, so their schedules aligned perfectly with my school schedule, which allowed us to take summer vacations as a family. Because my dad didn’t like to fly, we drove everywhere—across the country to California, down to the southern tip of Texas, and out to the beaches in Virginia and Florida. I’ve continued this tradition with my daughter. We take a family vacation every summer. Continue reading “Kim Ball’s Summer Reads”