As I often say on my radio podcast All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray, we all know that many things are going wrong today all around the world, but we do not particularly focus upon the fact that lots of things are actually going right as well. And one of them is Treatment Courts, otherwise known as Collaborative Courts. So what are those courts and what do they do? Here in Orange County and, increasingly, all around our country we have Homeless Courts, Veterans Courts, Drug Courts, Mental Disability Courts and others. And these courts do gratifyingly good jobs in treating the underlying problems that give rise to crimes in the first place. They are called collaborative because the teams are composed of judges, social workers, counselors, medical doctors, prosecutors, defense attorneys and probation officers. Yes, there is coercion that “encourages” the subjects/defendants to be involved, but those people quickly see that, if they take the programs seriously, not only will the criminal charges be dismissed but their lives will be much better. So the programs are successful.
When I was first appointed to the Bench at the end of 1983, it quickly became apparent to me that alcohol-related offenses were the largest unmet problems facing our courts. So, I am proud to say, within six months of my appointment we had up and running what was probably the first Drug Court in the country. Knowing full well that if the offenders were alcoholics they would continue to drink, and then almost certainly drive and pose unacceptably large risks to hurt themselves or others, we put them on a special program that demanded total abstinence. In fact, I would tell them if they even ate rum cake and I found out about it, I would put them in jail. But we did give them support with the Probation Department to oversee the program and the Orange County Health Care Agency to provide treatment. And we were successful in keeping alcoholics, or what we called “high-risk problem drinkers,” off alcohol for six months, which was as long as I was able to keep statistics. Happily now there are similar programs for the mentally ill, homeless and veterans. For example, many people who are mentally ill self-medicate with mostly illicit substances in order to “keep their demons away.” Thus it does no good whatsoever to put them in jail. And, since jail is both the most expensive option as well as the purveyor of additional harm to these mentally fragile people, today’s approaches serve everyone’s interests. So I just thought that you would like to know about these developments, because the best way to “get tough on crime” is to reduce it.
Quote of the Week: “I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: ‘No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.’” Eleanor Roosevelt
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President
As stated above, feel free to listen to our radio show entitled All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray as we discuss timely issues and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches. The series has concluded, but you can still hear any edition On Demand by going to https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3883. And, by the way, these 2 Paragraphs columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty. In addition, my new book with the same title as my radio show is now available at Amazon.com. Please read and discuss it with your friends, and send in a review.