The judicial system in the United States is amongst the most complete and fair in the world. The entire judicial system rests on pillars of equality, a chance for a fair trial, and the opportunity to prove that you can really turn your life around. Its citizens have options that many other people in other countries don’t. They are held accountable for their actions and are always provided with a way out.
Take parking tickets for example. In the United States, if you get a parking ticket and you wish to oppose it, you get a chance to speak in front of a judge and present your case. In other countries, you only need to pay your ticket. No hearings, no judge, no justice. There are also many factors that are considered for your sentencing, like how good of a citizen you have been and how much in good actions you have contributed to the country.
We, of course, have many things that we struggle with in terms of problems in prison and some laws, but that’s only a consequence of our ever-changing society which is as diverse as it is rich. I have seen many cases where a judge will do things that are not necessarily in the book, but that serve the same purpose with an updated penalty according to the offender.
A couple of judges have made headlines with their unique form of sentencing, where they take case by case and deliver their decision based on all the circumstances that surround it. One of those judges is Michael Cicconetti. He is a Municipal Judge that made headlines when he gave alternate options for offenders. He says that most of the problems in prisons and society, start in Municipal Courts around the United States.
The judge explains that all felonies start with small offenses. The offender gets sent to jail, where he only becomes criminally smarter. These people go on to commit bigger crimes looking for that ‘bigger’ reward. So, the way to break this cycle is to deliver a penalty that will make them remember their day in court. Many of them go to court thinking that they are going to avoid jail with only a $100 fine. Like a young woman who was accused of abandoning her dog in her house full of trash and foul odors. She was given an alternate sentence to jail time that she happily took. It was spending 8 hours picking up garbage at her local dumpster.
For many of them, that experience leaves a lasting image and deters them from engaging in criminal behavior again. This judge’s repeat offense percentage is at 10% compared to the national average of 75%! Well, there is another judge that decided to give a repeat offender an experience he will never forget. He was sentenced to jail time and was taken in. Then, the surveillance cameras catch the judge going into the man’s cell, and doing something no other judge had ever done before.