I took a call from a client today who had appeared to hit "rock bottom." I felt terrible for him. Our conversation, which I had intended to be about his case, turned into a discussion about his life and what had happened since his DUI Arrest.
I cannot discuss the facts of my client's case or the individual circumstance, but what I can say is that the client has been having a very hard time since the DUI arrest.
There is Hope When Looking Up:
After twenty-one years practicing law, I still learn things every day. I learned from my client that even when things look bleak, there is hope.
When someone finally realizes that their alcoholism has destroyed their life, rebuilding can at last begin. No life is worthless. We need to value each person. When someone is not contributing their gifts to all of us, we all lose something.
The court system is not designed to help people who desperately need it. When the only option is punishment, why do we assume this will rehabilitate someone?
Rehabilitation is as much spiritual as behavioral. My point is that a rat can be trained to walk a maze through reward and punishment. However, a rat does not have a spiritual nature.
We can punish human beings and "correct" behavior on a short-term basis. However, no punishment or deprivation can change the character of someone.
Real change is the result of self-reflection and maturity. Many, so called, wild people settle down after the birth of a child. Why? Is it the result of punishment? No. When someone has a child, it is an enormous responsibility that cannot be undertaken without self-reflection and a dose of humility. The birth of a child is a spiritual experience that changes people.
When it comes to individuals who have committed crimes, we need far more than the carrot and stick approach. We need to help people work towards real change and responsibility. Throwing someone in jail and then releasing them some time later serves no purpose at all.
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