Patients, Not Prisoners

At first glance, the stuffy basement room in the Maricopa County courthouse seems unremarkable: a black-robed figure looming over the dais; lawyers and sheriff's deputies at the ready; a line of 72 convicted felons up for sentencing. First comes the lanky forklift driver caught with crystal meth. Then the surly mechanic, father of three, busted for cocaine. And the pale 19-year-old with shorn red hair, on probation for using marijuana, who has failed his latest drug test. He shuffles his feet as his mother looks on, wipes away a tear and mumbles, "I messed up."

Yet however familiar the scene, the...

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