Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cooperstown

I spent the last half of last week in Cooperstown, for the second-ever symposium of New York State problem-solving courts (not including drug courts).   The event, which was organized by Judge Kluger and her team, had a nice vibe to it.  It may be cheap pop psychology, but my sense is that the current economic climate has taken a little of the edge of the discontent that judges feel over their decade long wait for a salary increase.   The big plenary session was dedicated to the pharmacology of addiction, with break-out sessions on mental illness, sex offenses, domestic violence, probation and the ethics of problem-solving judging.  I guess the highlight for me was the session on mental illness, which was led by a former police sergeant who is also a mental health consumer.  He spoke passionately about the need for greater empathy among justice professionals who work directly with mentally-ill individuals.