This story by Johnny Magdaleno at the Indianapolis Star caught my eye last week:
Francisco Olmos pleaded guilty to the charge nearly five years after he was accused of deleting text messages from the phone of an 18-year-old woman right after she had killed herself. He has been suspended from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department without pay since 2017.
Olmos had started what he told police was a non-romantic relationship with the 18-year-old, who was part of the department’s program that helps youth learn about policing, in the year before her death.
Marion Superior Judge Elizabeth Ann Christ sentenced him to 240 hours of community service after many of the charges were reduced. But in addition to the probationary charges, he also has to keep a journal.
Kim Watson, the chief bailiff at Marion Superior Court 24, told IndyStar it marked one of only a few times she has seen journaling sentenced as part of a punishment in her more than two decades at the court.
Watson’s observation seems to indicate this has happened before. I’m not sure how I feel about it, because I have no idea if it’s based on evidence that journaling helps people overcome issues related to their crimes. On one hand, it’s probably a good way for a Court to discern a person’s mental state and remorse. On the other, do the judges really read it? Does a clerk? Does anyone?