Hard to move on I work as a paralegal at a small law firm. We do everything from traffic stuff to murder cases. We don’t see our clients as defendants or criminals. They may have done something …
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Hard to move on
I work as a paralegal at a small law firm. We do everything from traffic stuff to murder cases.
We don’t see our clients as defendants or criminals. They may have done something horrible, but they still deserve to be treated like human beings. We fight for them — that doesn’t always mean getting someone off the hook or out of jail, but letting them be heard.
The criminal justice system is not always fair. Once you’re in the system, you can be stuck in it. Getting out and doing something with your life can be very difficult. Not because you’re a criminal, but because the system makes it hard to move on.
Damaged lights still shine
We have a client in federal prison I hear from regularly. He received a life sentence for a homicide. He nearly got the death penalty. We represented him for seven years. Going through something like that, you learn everything about a person — stuff nobody else knows. You start to understand why they became who they are. He suffered terrible abuse as a child, and the system failed to protect him. Then he grew up and became like those who harmed him.
It’s hard to say when someone has taken a life, but there’s light in them. It’s just so damaged it can only shine once in a while. The demons take over. Should he be out on the streets? No. but should we take his life? No, I don’t believe in that either.
Making it all worthwhile
If we want to address crime, rehabilitation is key. Rather than spit someone out once they’ve done their time, they need help to reintegrate. After 10 years in jail, do they know how to write a resume? Or how to keep a bank account? Where they can live or work is limited, but they might still know how to sell drugs. They feel like they have no other options.
We absolutely have success stories. We had a client who had been lost in drugs most of her life. We helped her get to where she could do therapy and classes, and she changed her life. It’s outstanding. We were able to show the judge how hard she’s worked, and she received an appropriate sentence. Now she calls us every few weeks and shares the amazing accomplishments she’s having.
When we get pictures from clients of them in their new jobs or with their new babies, that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
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