From March 10, 2009
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, they’ve got a criminal court that helps veterans rehabilitate rather than going through the traditional criminal justice system. One of the judges I admire, the Hon. Candace Blalock, started something called domestic violence court in the District Court of Garvin County, Oklahoma. Most of us know about drug court.These alternative courts show imagination, compassion as well as tough love to people who can be helped in ways that the standard remedies in the criminal justice system do not allow. Punishment, yes. But, by all means, do we want people back in court for a future offense? And, do we want to pay for people to go to prison when more effective and less expensive options exist? The USA imprisons more people than China, which has four times the population.
I’d like to see something called “immigrant court” for certain criminal immigrants. The problem is that our judges and our prosecutors and our criminal defense attorneys spend a lot of time crafting the appropriate penalty and rehabilitative help. Yet, in many immigration cases, the taxpayers spend money, the immigrant in good faith completes the program, and then everyone finds out that Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains the foreign national for removal proceedings in a case where a citizen would end his sentence with no record. An immigrant court might be the answer to create a court where pretrial diversions can be instituted to those immigrants deserving a second chance.