Leading with Empathy - Step #11
Folks don't like change, and this certainly applies to the criminal justice system where status quo is king. Charged with a crime? Well, you're going to be put through the ringer and pay the price; it’s a black and white straight forward transaction to the prosecutor, judge and probation.
If you try to break the status quo, you're going to be yelled at to get back in the box and comply. This puts the client in an impossible situation, but without deep change, comes slow death for the client. A criminal case can impact the rest of your life; as a leader for my clients, we choose deep change over slow death.
A judge and prosecutor deny the need for deep change; the pressure to change or come off the status quo means extra work and taking a chance; we must confront this and support our call for deep change.
In order to create deep change in a case, a client must commit to a plan. It is not enough to say you'll change or promise it won't happen again. Most people are not willing to do the hard work, because they see the problem as outside of them.
The client drove drunk, but its suddenly not fair they might go to jail, lose their job, license and future. This mindset will not create deep change and will not sway the prosecutor or judge to support our goals.
Challenging the status quo means revolutionizing the criminal justice system; to move away from the transactional mindset and make the choice to humanize the case.
Most clients won't have the courage or motivation to make deep change, but those that do can create their own path
Real life example of deep change
I work with a lot of clients that are back in the criminal justice system as a repeat offender; they have a track record of breaking the law. They are not a first offender, and do not get the benefit of the doubt; a prosecutor and judge will think about all the times the client was not caught breaking the law and the case is in the trash from day one.
A repeat offender needs sincere deep change; to acknowledge both the history and the present case; to embrace poor choices and poor attitude and approach. To acknowledge change is hard and there is a long road ahead, but to show signs and progress to the judge and prosecutor. To approach the case with a humble attitude and be deeply committed to changing their life in all aspects.
A repeat offender must isolate the reason for their track record and develop a plan to make difficult changes in their life; it may be moving away from bad influences, avoiding all future use of alcohol or drugs. It certainly means embracing reflection of their mental and emotional well-being and having honest conversations.