When you think of the West Bank, your first thought is likely not the right to counsel. Some people are surprised to hear that Palestine has a self-sufficient legal system at all, let alone a constitutionally-mandated right to an attorney for all criminally accused. Ensuring access to legal representation is critical to protecting due process, human rights, and justice, especially in historically tumultuous places like the West Bank. Institutionalizing constitutional protections as the Palestinian legal system develops and changes will ensure that best practices are embedded into its very foundation.
How do you know whether the young person in front of you in court is likely to commit another crime? Historically the American justice system has looked at somewhat subjective factors like, “what crime did you commit?” or “have I seen you in court before?” In the past twenty years, the justice system has attempted to standardize the assessment of an individual’s likelihood of recidivism, reduce subjectivity, and target intentions at those who need them most. Continue reading “Validate Me!! In Defense of [Properly Utilized] Risk Assessments”
“For the veteran, thank you for bravely doing what you’re called to do so we can safely do what we’re free to do.” – Unknown
This month as we celebrate our veterans, we take a moment as a nation to thank the soldiers for their service of ensuring our freedom and safety. We would also like to acknowledge and thank those who continue to support our veterans once they return home.
Our first shout out goes to the Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans emerging back into civilian life may face several challenges, such as PTSD and substance misuse. VA’s National Center for PTSD created a series of short videos for patients and providers to help recognize the symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Continue reading “Sending Support for Our Soldiers”
Every year when November comes, I immediately think of Thanksgiving and what I am thankful for. This year, November also means midterm elections and exercising our right to vote. I recognize, though, that not everyone is able to participate in this essential part of our democratic process whether it is due to misinformation, cumbersome voter registration laws, or felony disenfranchisement laws. Being able to vote allows us to share our voice and help shape the direction of this country. Breaking down the barriers to voting is critical to making sure all voices are heard. That is why this year, I am so thankful that Florida voters passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to more than one million citizens with a felony conviction.
Anti-Bullying Month is an initiative supported by the American people and our government. Our country needs to heal in multiple spaces. Our people need love. Our kids and teens need us to guide them. We see the implications bullying has in our current political and social climates. It harnesses divide, boasts the wrong priorities, distracts and destroys.
To let light into the darkest spaces is immeasurably difficult. It takes deep breathing, stepping back, and utter discomfort to get to this place. It takes forgiveness. Change can only come through awareness, acknowledgement, and action.