Don’t take Genesee Justice for granted
Nov 17, 2010
The great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” This single phrase to me epitomizes the very essence of how our criminal justice system in our country should operate.
She also wrote, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” For 30 years, Genesee Justice has been a pulse that tends to the souls of our victims of crime and to the destiny of the offenders that have perpetrated those crimes.
There is a cost to our community that is both human and financial. In financial terms, the county manager’s proposal to merge Genesee Justice under the Genesee County Probation Department’s responsibility is completely impractical. The proposal hopes to save a mere $237,000 by doing so. In actuality, the county would be losing millions! The proposal is fueled by the delusion that the programs that Genesee Justice and its staff oversee, will somehow miraculously be easily handled by the two people that currently work in Probation, plus perhaps one more person.
....Dennis Wittman was the heart behind Genesee Justice. Ed Minardo continues this same level of care and continues to take it to new levels of service and technology. Have you visited the website? It’s terrific and will connect one with every criminal justice agency and service our community has.
There are victims of crime who are trying to heal. Part of Genesee Justice’s goal is to tend to those victims and help lead them on the best possible path to getting their lives back or to prevent their own anger or powerlessness from consuming them. There are people in who have perpetrated crimes but are not truly criminals at heart. People dealing with life challenges, such as illness, addiction or poverty often walk a tightrope of emotions and make mistakes. There are juvenile offenders who need to be monitored and need to learn the value of their own lives.
These examples are the essence of Genesee Justice and the place it holds in our community. It is the glue that seals the cracks in the road between our magistrates, the DA’s office, the Public Defenders’ Office, law enforcement, Victims Services, Restorative Justice, our Human Services and Task Forces, and our community.
Barbara Bush once wrote, “If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” Please don’t underestimate the value of Genesee Justice in our community. Please voice your opinion and concern to our county manager and county Legislature today.
The merger of Genesee Justice with the Department of Probation would be a huge mistake both financially and more importantly, to the overall health of our county and its citizens.