I applaud the approach Anne Woods is bringing as our new La Plata County judge (Feb. 20, “An agent for change”).
My son experienced the punitive approach of the local and state legal judicial system. He had undiagnosed depression and anxiety and in retrospect he self-medicated with substances to the point that he developed an addiction to opiates and alcohol.
When he was in the early stages of his path with addiction, he was convicted of the nonviolent charge of trespassing and became involved with the legal system. Our experience with the system was that it was never discussed, explored, or even considered that there might be an underlying root cause behind his behavior and actions.
He went to jail for a short time and then was put on probation, which only exacerbated his anxiety and self-medicating. He also experienced the added shame of a felony charge.
Sadly, he died in 2019. Although his problems were not caused by the punitive legal and judicial system, he definitely was not helped by it, either.
We can do better! Please know that there are kids like my son that would benefit from a different approach and parents like me that support Woods’ efforts to take our judicial system in a direction where the focus is on figuring out the root causes for behavior and connecting these people with the help and support they need.