The emergence of drug-treatment courts and other specialized “problem-solving courts” (PSCs) has been among the most important developments in American criminal justice over the past three decades. Founded in 1989, Miami’s drug-treatment court is often credited as the nation’s first PSC. The court was developed out of a sense of frustration that conventional criminal-justice responses to drug crime failed to address underlying addiction problems, resulting in a seemingly never-ending cycle of arrest, incarceration, return to use, and rearrest for many individuals. Treatment might be offered, or even required, within the conventional system, but the results were often disappointing. However, the drug-treatment court aimed to provide treatment within a different framework. The judge kept close tabs on the defendant’s progress, working with a team of court personnel and treatment providers to ensure adequate support for the defendant’s rehabilitation and appropriate accountability for backsliding.
The drug-treatment court concept spread rapidly. Hundreds of such courts were created by the late 1990’s, and thousands exist today. Moreover, the drug-treatment court model—specialized caseload handled by an interdisciplinary team, provision of social services to address underlying causes of criminal behavior, close judicial supervision, and use of carrots and sticks to keep defendants progressing through treatment—has been adapted to handle a wide range of other offender groups. The PSCs now in operation in many jurisdictions include mental health courts, homelessness courts, DUI courts, prisoner reentry courts, and veterans courts.
Continue reading “Problem-Solving Courts Can Produce Better Outcomes for Participants, But Do White Defendants Benefit More Than Black?”
This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 25, 2021.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It won’t really accomplish anything.
Both opinions are widely held as schools across the country plan for what to do with a huge wave of federal funding intended to boost both students and schools as a result of the pandemic.
“This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children,” Keith Posley, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, said during a Marquette Law School program posted online July 21 on how the money will be used. Posley added, “Our children deserve these funds and even more to make sure they are able to truly get the quality education that they deserve and live that American dream.”
But you need look no farther than the state Capitol in Madison to find opposite views. In late May, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The amount of federal money that is going to school districts is overwhelming. It’s really kind of obscene in many ways.” The new state budget kept a tight limit on school spending across Wisconsin largely because of Republican opinions of the federal aid. Continue reading “School districts that use pandemic funds wisely may see payoff”
There was unanimous concern about the overall issue. There was unanimous willingness to work together. There was open and substantial conversation. But it will take time to see what will actually happen when it comes to progress on how to police communities and how to achieve good accountability when things related to police go bad.
That summarizes a two-hour conference on policing and accountability hosted by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette Forum, a university-wide set of efforts to address major issues. Participants included major figures involved in controversies over the subject and in the aftermath of several police shootings of black men. The conference was posted on the Law School’s web site on March 10, 2021.
“Ideologically, we want to live in a city where we all feel safe, where we feel heard, where we feel protected,” said Amanda Avalos, a new member of Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission. “And people’s ideas of how we get there are different.” Continue reading “Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference”
Black people who have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have rarely reached that potential, given the impact of systemic racism, including the fact that few are in positions where they can take part in the networking that leads to so many opportunities.
Abim Kolawole thinks change can occur and steps being taken now will have positive impact. And he is in a major position to help that become so.
Kolawole, a top executive of Northwestern Mutual – he was recently named vice-president of “customer experience integration and promoting journey “ and was previously vice president of digital innovation — said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s website on February 17, 2021, that there is a greater sense of urgency around creating opportunity in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. Continue reading “Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs”
Yes, the justice system in Milwaukee County is likely to come out of the pandemic operating better than it was before.
Yes, a lot of lessons have been learned, and some of them will have lasting impact.
But no, operating remotely and under the constraints imposed by COVID-19 precautions is not such a great thing, overall, and a return to in-person work as the predominant way the system operates is needed.
Those answers provide a broad description of an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” discussion with four leaders in courts and criminal justice in Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee. The session was posted on the Marquette Law School web site on Jan. 22, 2021. Continue reading “Legal System Leaders Say Hard Work and Cooperation Have Showed Pros and Cons of Remote Court Operations”
Mike Hostad and Ian Abston want to light up Milwaukee and its future.
One way that is so is literal. The two led the Light the Hoan project that, after five years of tenacious effort, brought multi-colored, frequently-changing lighting patterns to the Hoan Bridge at the mouth of Milwaukee’s harbor. The effort was sometimes criticized, but, once the lights went up in 2020, the project was a big hit.
Another way that is so is less literal: The two are leading a new effort called Forward 48 that recruits groups of 48 professionals between ages 25 and 35 and provides them training led by major community figures in what it takes to be leaders.
Hostad and Abson talked about both efforts during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program that was posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Jan. 13, 2021. Continue reading “Hostad and Abston: Aiming to Light Up Milwaukee”
Between finishing college and starting law school, Amy Lindner spent a year working at an auto repair shop in Waukesha. She says she learned valuable things, beyond how her car works.
One lesson was that every job has dignity and deserves respect. Another was that, in dealing with customers, she saw that “the way we treat each other just makes such an impact.” A third: When she told customers what was done for their cars, why it was needed, and why it cost what they were being charged, she found that “just being clear and kind to people is something we all can do in all of our jobs.”
Those are lessons that serve her well in her current position as president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
In a virtual “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Wednesday (December 2), Lindner talked not only about her work in auto repair but about how the Milwaukee area as a whole has been affected by – and is responding to – people’s needs in his time of a pandemic. Continue reading “Amy Lindner: Following Through on a Lesson in the Impact People Can Have”
August student blogger of the month and former Marine Robert Maniak (3L) recently wrote a powerful, moving post called Rules of Engagement that appeared on this blog. This morning, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ran that post as an opinion piece. Congratulations to Robert. Be sure to check out Robert’s other blog posts here, here, and here.
How does Lafayette Crump define success in his new job as the City of Milwaukee’s commissioner of City Development?
“I think it would be a disservice to this community if I did not view my success through the prism of how I am able to improve racial and economic equity in the city of Milwaukee,” Crump said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program. The interview, one of the “virtual Lubar Center” programs of Marquette Law School, was posted online on Wednesday, August 26.
“I’m charged as development commissioner to promote development in the City of Milwaukee, to bring jobs here, to ensure that we lessen the impact of home foreclosures, that we assure that there is affordable housing available for people. All of that is clearly important and we will never lose sight of that as a department,” Crump said. “But we have to think about those things through the prism of how they are improving racial equity.” Continue reading “Lafayette Crump: Success as Development Commissioner Will Mean Improved Equity in Milwaukee”
To Our Peers, Professors, And Administrators:
Marquette University Law School Student Bar Association writes to you today to address the tragedy that we as a community and a country have faced in the last three weeks. Not one of a pandemic, but rather the state-sanctioned murders of Black Americans. Namely, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others. Their deaths are not novel, and we would be remiss to categorize them as such. Their deaths are the tragic manifestation of a long-standing system of racial oppression that continues to unjustly claim the lives of Black Americans.
We want to be loud and exceptionally clear: SBA believes Black Lives Matter. We are an anti-racist organization, and we condemn every form of racism. We stand in solidarity with the members of the Black Law Student Association, the Black community of Marquette University, and the Black community around the world. Continue reading “SBA Statement in Support of BLM and Against Racial Injustice”
As new Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley was being interviewed for an online “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program this week, viewers could see a message board behind Crowley with the phrase, “It’s a good day to have a good day.”
When Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, asked Crowley about it, Crowley said it was a motto in his family and he described himself as an optimist – in fact, he said, some say he is “recklessly optimistic.”
He maintained that tone, even as he discussed the enormous problems he faces in the job he won in the April 7 election. Milwaukee County government continues to struggle with large financial stresses and increasing demands for services. Add on the crises that Crowley faced the day he took office – responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp economic slump that resulted – and the urgent issues that arouse in late May in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and it would be easy to guess Crowley’s optimism had declined.
Crowley told Gousha that the crises have “exacerbated what we knew we needed in Milwaukee” and have made progress more difficult. “But we’ll be able to move this community even further” as the issues are addressed, he said. Continue reading “New County Executive Remains Confident in Good Days Ahead for Milwaukee”
Can you offer a note of optimism when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mike Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, asked Jeanette Kowalik, the health commissioner of the City of Milwaukee, that question at the end of an online “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” interview on Wednesday, May 20.
Kowalik tried, but it was a challenge to put a cheerful face on the impact the virus is having on Milwaukee and most of the world.
“Definitely what’s happening right now is like Haley’s comet,“ she said. It was hard to anticipate “something at this level” as a health crisis, she said, saying the United States as a whole was experiencing “these astronomical numbers” of confirmed cases and deaths.
The only option now is to continue social and physical distancing and use personal protective equipment such as face masks, Kowalik said, while awaiting development and widespread use of a vaccine to deal with the virus. Continue reading “Trying to Strike Some Optimistic Notes Amid the COVID-19 Crisis”