We happened onto this heartbreaking photo on the website of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation with the following caption:
“Most treatment court participants struggle in their long recovery from substance abuse and mental health issues. Many participants are also unemployed, homeless and estranged from their families. Waiting for a hearing can take hours and during that time many people suffer from anxiety attacks. Unable to remain in the courtroom, some participants leave and a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. This can make their progress in treatment take even longer.
“It is obvious that many participants are in acute emotional pain while they describe their lack of progress to the judge. It can be a grueling process to stay sober, hold down a job and finish a treatment plan. With all these challenges it can take almost two years to recover and graduate from a treatment court program.”
We think supplying a dog is sort of inadequate. Why are people in “treatment” kept waiting for hours in the courtroom? Why do they have to “describe their lack of progress to the judge,” who’s not a doctor? How do we know this guy cuffed behind his back wants a dog on his lap?
Is “treatment” really such a fabulous alternative to jail, or like “resettlement” and “special measures,” just another deadly euphemism?