Low level drug offenders -- not the dealers, but their customers -- get a chance to get clean rather than spend time in jail when their cases are handled in specialty courts. Judge Joan Synenberg, who presides over a docket where defendants are both addicted and have mental health issues, says such an approach is not soft on crime. She says it helps break the cycle of crime. Judge Synenberg joins the conversation accompanied by Melissa Fitzgerald, who played Carol Fitzpatrick on the popular TV drama "The West Wing." Fitzgerald's new role: Activist for criminal justice reform. It's a role that involves advocating for the kind of court Judge Synenberg runs. Later, we'll preview the U.S. Supreme Court's busy new term.
Melissa Fitzgerald, Director of the Advancing Justice Initiative, National Association of Drug Court Professionals
Judge Joan Synenberg, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Jessie Hill, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University