Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Related imageDo you believe in an eye for an eye kind of justice or should jail time be the only alternative for a criminal? On the internet a small town tough talking judge is gaining fame for his unusual choices for justice after a criminal has admitted to his or her crime. His unique way of dishing out justice is shockingly successful.  He is Judge Michael Cicconetti a Municipal Court Judge in Painesville, Ohio.  In his courtroom the rates of repeat offenders are much lower than the national average of 75%. His courtroom produces only 10% of repeat offenses. Why?

Most people do not go to the felony stage of offence. They start out with petty crimes seen from his kind of court the Municipal   Court. He believes that if they get into jail they only learn how to become a better criminal from those around them. He gives them a choice, a humiliating chore or jail time. Most people choose to be humiliated than to go to jail for any length of time.  For example, once case before his bench was a case where Animal control found an abused dog living in a filthy house.  He was left alone in the house for a week to live on the filth and trash left in the house. The owner plead guilty to animal neglect and cruelty.  He told the owner that the dog probably felt lonely and scared and got sick from the filth. He told the owner to spend a day at the county dump or landfill and organize trash or spend 90 days in jail. The owner chose the dump.

Another case was the case of the stolen bicycle. The man who stole the bicycle had the choice of 60 days in jail or to have to ride the bike in the town parade with a sign on his back all day. The Judge calls these alternatives to jail community work service because they send a message to the community. He also turned down jail time. They rather be embarrassed for a day than go to jail. The dog is now up for   adoption and the man is working towards paying for a bicycle.  All too often extended jail time even for petty offenses disturbs the life of the often minimum wage worker that they cannot get time off from their meager jobs to go to jail. They end up losing their jobs and costing the county even more money on welfare. But is humiliating them the answer?  This judge thinks so and it is working in his town.


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