Hello CFCC Bloggers. I am currently a CFCC Fellow at UB School of Law. I was posed an intriguing question last week in class that I have been thinking about throughout the weekend. Last week’s class discussion was about Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ) and Preventive Law. At the end of class, I was asked my opinion on TJ. My answer was the following: I believe that TJ is a great concept that should certainly be “applied” (for lack of a better term) by every attorney practicing law. I followed that with my reasoning.
Now, one would think, “Well that’s not a very peculiar answer.” I did not think so either, UNTIL after class when one of my fellow classmates told me that she was interested to hear my response considering what I want to do for a living. I was very thankful for this thought-provoking question. After thinking about it throughout the week and weekend, I got the idea to write this blog to explain my position of why it is that an aspiring FBI Agent would believe in Therapeutic Jurisprudence. My hope is that the “take-away” from my blog will be that even a person on the law enforcement side believes in TJ. Thus, Mr. Winick and Mr. Wexler’s idea has even persuaded those individuals who work to capture criminals.
I guess that most people think that someone who wants to spend the rest of their life arresting suspects for the awful crimes they commit would not believe there is justice in therapy. YES, I want to arrest criminals and YES, I do believe in punishment. However, just because I want to bust them and cuff them does not mean that I want them to serve significant amounts of time in our over-crowded prisons. I do believe in jail terms, but I also believe in therapy and rehabilitation and see it being successful for some, not all, criminals. In my opinion, a defendant who walks into a courtroom and is convicted of a drug charge, should be sent through rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of the drug charge and if there was violence or other crimes involved, maybe rehabilitation and a jail sentence are both beneficial.
My point is that as an FBI Agent I can only plan to do my job bringing suspects into the legal system. My hope then is that the attorneys and judges that they come before, will apply TJ so that the next time that individual crosses my path, I do not have to put handcuffs on them. Rather, I can devote my time to another criminal and I can smile confidently and thank the justice system and therapeutic jurisprudence for a successful rehabilitation.
I applaud and thank the CFCC professors, Mr. Winick, and Mr. Wexler for making me, who once thought that prison was the only therapy, believe that there are other ways in which our law can be therapeutic.