One Love Global hosted an Event this evening titled, “Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration.” The event was designed to allow Lansing, Michigan youths interact with the panel of five men currently incarcerated in a Michigan Prison.
The panel handled questions from the audience, a packed house at Lansing Community College’s DART Auditorium, on life in prison, anticipation of life outside of prison, how family members viewed them, the choices they made that led to their current position as well as myriad other topics. On hand to moderate was AJ Hilton of local FOX News.
One of the topics that came up several times throughout the course of the evening was the theme of asking those around you for help in terms of getting on the right track. One of the inmates mentioned that this notion goes against natural tendencies that many have.
As a criminal defense attorney, this idea of thought stuck with me quite a bit. When I think about the role of an attorney, helping a client better themselves is one that can sometimes be overlooked. An attorney gets the case, looks at the facts, finds the best way to proceed. Where I think an attorney can also help is in the role of a facilitator.
UPDATE: Link to an article on the event from the Lansing State Journal.
Programs like these show youths that there are people out there that want to help them. In my dealings as an attorney, you see both people that want to get on the right track and those that maybe have not yet realized that they need to make better decisions. When I mention an attorney being a facilitator, the idea there is that with all of these people and organizations out there that want to help people see that better decisions can be obtained, sometimes people need help in finding that right direction.
An attorney’s role in a case does not simply need to begin or end with a guilty or not guilty verdict. An attorney’s role should be to help the client with all their needs related to their case. This includes working with the client and the court system in terms of finding ways in which the client is able to turn a negative situation into one where they can take positive steps forward in their life.
One other area of interest that came up in the event was when a member of the audience asked the panel about the role of the probation officer in helping someone break the cycle of incarceration. This was a great question. It was a great question in large part because it came from a member of the audience that was also a probation officer. Probation officers play an important role in the process of helping someone move forward with their life after dealings with the legal system. And while negotiations and events in court are often adversarial, the process with the probation department does not need to reflect that.
Overall, it was an excellent event and it was great to see such a large crowd in attendance. It was a great chance for dialogue between area youths and those already incarcerated.
I will update this post to any links that I come across to news coverage of the event.