Field Trip: Florida Justice
Posted by Joshua Yospyn | May 5, 2011
In May 2009, This American Life’s Ira Glass, who’s the source of one of my favorite quotes, aired a story about Florida Judge Peter Miller’s unorthodox practice of sentencing first offense misdemeanors to carry a sign that says “I Stole From This Store” at the scene of their crime. Driving through the city of Palatka last week I found 20-year-old Phil, who was about to wrap up a two-hour stint in front of the business he lifted from. Phil didn’t seem embarrassed and was happy to talk to me, plus stand for a (brief) portrait. Watching over him was Putnam County Probation Officer Kathy Pekrul, who’s been handling these cases since the program began in 1996. She’s out there 6-8 times a month and has accompanied hundreds of first-time offenders since Judge Miller started this style of rehabilitation. (In Phil’s case, he was given the choice of holding the sign and doing 20 hours of community service with nothing on his record, or six months probation. He took the sign deal.)
I’m not sure this preventative measure will work for Phil, but it hammered down a lesson for me: carry your camera(s) everywhere.
Photos: Joshua Yospyn/Worn Magazine (please ask permission before using our photos)
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