My car was hit in 2019 by a man who was under the influence of many things, and I had to attend court for his hearing. My brother-in-law has worked for the county judiciary for many years, and he mentioned that the judge hearing the case was a friend of his. My case went last, so I spent a few hours watching other cases concerning non-violent offenses go before me, in which the majority of the defendants were Black men.
Over and over, I saw the judge in question do whatever was in her power to NOT sentence these men to serve time in prison. She operated under the assumption that these were men who had just made mistakes, and mistakes they had learned from- so if full restitution had been paid to the wronged parties, there was no reason to consider them dangerous or in need of separation from society. This was frequently followed with probation conditions that involved contact with social workers or addiction counseling if needed. When I saw my brother-in-law later that week I told him “I understand why she’s your friend!”