Allow me to begin with a confession: I’m a researcher at heart, and I have an unhealthy obsession with data. This has its benefits (bear with me . . .): If you make an argument you can support with data, I will be on your side, all in. But it also has a downside: sometimes, while the data suggests a certain course of action, because “it will likely result in the best outcomes,” this actually doesn’t convince normal humans, and it certainly fails to quiet our conscience which asks, “is that really the best thing to do?”
Continue reading ““But the data says no” … In which a researcher learns compassion”
“No touching!” the corrections officer yelled at me, pointing at my outstretched hand as I sat down in the attorney interview room across from my client Raphael. “Oh right, sorry!” I snatched my hand away quickly. In my first year as a public defender, I had a hard time “un-learning” my natural instincts about how human interaction should work. On this occasion, I was meeting with Raphael at Rikers Island to interview him for a letter I was writing to the judge about why she should give Raphael a shorter jail sentence for his heroin possession case than the DA was recommending. Continue reading “Revolutionary Empathy”
Last month, I traveled with my staff to lead a three-day site visit in a Missouri district located about two hours northeast of Kansas City. Driving past acres of amber waves of grains, I was drawn to the rural landscape. I was delighted by murals dotting the town of Chillicothe, immortalizing their claim as “The Home of Sliced Bread,” and I marveled at Linn County’s turn-of-the-century courthouse. As an outsider in a community that was so different from my own, I couldn’t help but reflect on the vast and rich diversity of our country.
Continue reading “Providing Strengths-Based, Community-Based TTA: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”