Another Voice: When was the Last Time You Called?
The CSAC Officers spent the afternoon with Chief Justice Ronald George on Monday discussing issues of mutual interest between courts and counties. Despite more than two decades of reforms that separate court and county functions, there are ties that still bind us together at the local level.
Our discussion with the Chief Justice and other court leaders reminded me how important it is for counties – supervisors and county executives especially – to actively nurture the relationship with the local court. In this time of persistent jail and prison overcrowding, we should concern ourselves with the decisions and policies we have in place that affect offenders’ interactions with the justice system. Should we be looking at all the proverbial entrance doors to and decisions points across the criminal justice system to ensure that we are collectively making smart decisions? Should we be spending time with our local court leaders to work collaboratively where we can to manage our offender population, target treatment to those most in need, and begin to reverse the tide of reoffending? These are big, tough issues. But I would argue that now, more than ever, we must rely on our community partners if we hope to solve some of the more intractable problems of the 21st century. Building and sustaining relationships and partnerships with our local judicial leaders is an important part of that effort.
If you haven’t talked with your local presiding judge or court executive in a while, pick up the phone and get caught up. You may find there is a lot to talk about.