New Haven and Criminal Justice

The Federal Courthouse is an interesting place to come into every morning. I grew up in New Haven, went to school here, and thought I knew everything there was to now about this city and even my home state of Connecticut. Growing up, whenever I told someone I was from New Haven, I was met with scoffs and half-joking questions about the high murder and crime rates in the city. I always had nothing to say in response; no defense of the beautiful city I called home. Crime rates have significantly decreased since my growing up, as a result of more efficient policing policies, cooperative community efforts to combat criminal activity, and more rehabilitation and reentry programs. But still, I sometimes feel I have nothing to defend my city with.

In many recent proceedings, I have witnessed an incredible amount of compassion for the accused. I am consistently impressed with the care that the Federal and Magistrate Judges have in the Connecticut District for the welfare of the defendants. I realize that this in not necessarily a general rule for Federal judgments, but the Judges whom I have met truly seek out rehabilitation, using the law not as a tool to punish, but rather a tool to rehabilitate. I now feel that I have a much better insight into the inner workings of justice in my home city and state, and can defend it! Each day, I’m consistently impressed by the justice system of the Connecticut Federal District, both its expediency and its compassion. I can now respond with confidence, saying that we as a city and state are a work in progress, constantly striving towards a safer community, using compassion and empathy as the tools of justice.

– Jonathan Hayward

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