Winners of The Justice Project Essay Contest

You wrote. We read. We voted.
Thank you to all who participated! Read the winning essays below!

First place
Essay by Susan M. Lemere


Carlos is lucky. Although he was arrested for drug possession, he is not going to jail. Instead, he has struck a deal. He will get probation, drug court, supervision and monitoring with top-notch addiction treatment, giving Carlos the best possible chance to succeed.

This is how Carlos and I meet. I have been hired to run treatment groups for people like Carlos. Although I’m a licensed therapist with many years of experience, I now undergo training in criminal justice-specific, evidence-based group treatment.

The training I receive in how to teach risk reduction skills is straightforward, and the group manual I am to follow is even more so. It contains a script I am expected to read from with specific wording for how to greet group members and how to explain rules and confidentiality. Research shows that if I follow the script and Carlos and his cohorts are sufficiently motivated to learn, they are likely to stay out of further trouble.

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Second Place
Essay by Mercy Ikuri

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Third Place
Essay by Kristin Sullivan

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Third Place
Essay by Ernest Brooks

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