Center for Prosecutorial Integrity Launches “Bring a Prosecutor to Justice” Campaign…

I might not have a massive following, but I know we are mighty! Please reblog this campaign and help raise funds for this worthy cause. We need to expose those that feel they have so much power that they are untouchable and above the law…..free to ruin other people’s lives on a whim! Let’s make a difference my crazy friends!

Wrongful Convictions Blog

From an email press release:

How many times have you heard about a rogue prosecutor who was let off the hook after a wrongful conviction caused by prosecutorial misconduct? How often have you heard about a win-at-all-costs prosecutor who was later feted as “Prosecutor of the Year,” elevated to the bench, or even elected to high political office?

According to the CPI report, “An Epidemic of Prosecutor Misconduct,” prosecutors who engage in misconduct are punished in fewer than 2% of cases. But now, there’s a way to bring a measure of justice to these cases – the Registry of Prosecutorial Misconduct: www.prosecutorintegrity.org/registry/

Every prosecutor who is added to the Registry now finds himself or herself subject to public accountability. In fact we’ve been told that prosecutors in some states have already begun to think twice before withholding exculpatory evidence,knowing that they may end up being listed in our Registry!

There have been an estimated…

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MD’s With Empathy…..The Real Key To Patient Compliance

start empathy

Medscape just published an article titled “For Noncompliant Patients, a Fix That Works”. I often read posts on this website, to stay informed of the latest medical breakthroughs, treatments, and health issues and feel they are one of the most credible and informative sources out there on the web today.  I have several chronic health challenges, not the least of which is being an ashamed educated smoker…..which surely complicates all the other health problems I have as well as being a problem on its own. Addiction is a tricky thing. I have tried without success yet several times to quit smoking, so in this respect I suppose I am a noncompliant patient……which made the article piqué my curiosity.

Many doctors over the years have approached the topic of quitting smoking with me. The talk usually goes like this: “Well,are you still smoking?”. Yes I say. “You are slowing your body’s healing process and constricting your blood vessels by continuing this. You need to quit.” I know I say to myself silently, as my eyes lower their gaze towards the floor. “Here, take this pamphlet. There is a quitline phone number on the back of it to give you options on how to quit. So, how is your pain today?” And the discussion ends just like that. Now don’t get me wrong…..it is certainly not the doctors fault that I haven’t been successful at quitting yet, only mine.  It is noteworthy though that this is typical of most doctor patient conversations of this type.

This article recognizes that many patient noncompliance discussions are just not done in the ideal way. Whether it is an issue like mine, or taking lifesaving medicine as directed, or changing other lifestyle habits that directly impact health and mortality there is an overall sense of frustration. Enter a new approach that doctors can take with their patients…..it’s called motivational interviewing. I quote from the article: “A growing number of doctors have been using a special technique that gets superior compliance from patients….. It’s a way of talking with patients that’s designed to elicit their barriers to compliance and assist them in overcoming those barriers. Studies show that doctors using this method of interaction can often work wonders. ” So what is motivational interviewing, you ask?

At first glance, I thought perhaps this was some new conversational technique that had just been discovered and unleashed upon the medical community with astonishing results. Then I read the entire article. Well, it turns out that motivational interviewing is exactly what the specialty doctors I trust the most, and feel are truly integral in my support, have done all along. In a nutshell, its demonstrating genuine empathy for the patient. The “technique” as described involves partnering with the patient, asking positive open-ended questions to stimulate a dialog, using scales to encourage patient interaction, and planting the seeds of change. Funny that I would assume most of these would be commonplace, yet my experience has shown the opposite. I have a handful of phenomenal doctors that I consider key members of my “team”, and I went through dozens more before I landed in the office of these gems. Looking back now I see the one thing that makes these doctors different…..keepers if you will….from the others that I chose not to continue treating with. They all have empathy. Each one of them makes me feel like they take a genuine interest in ME. With these docs, I don’t feel a number or a chart or worse yet…..a paycheck. Yep, what sets them apart and makes them stellar in my eyes is their authenticity when they say they really care about me…..it shows. And the proof that this technique actually works? I am after all still struggling with smoking…..a fact that these specialists don’t typically address with me. Well to me the proof is that after a decade of despair, uncontrolled pain, and a general tumbling down into the rabbit hole I found this team and have made remarkable progress in recovery and general everyday functioning in the world. Although I still have scary issues that arise, I am doing so much better in the last couple years than anyone could have imagined. That is my definition of success. As the article states, doctors can get the ball rolling in less than five minutes during a visit because most change happens incrementally over time. And that is the key in my mind…..a general chipping away of old patterns to be replaced with new through caring conversations and gentle reminders, always reinforcing the goal. So it’s not really the message that doctors are delivering that makes the difference. It is, in fact, HOW the message is delivered that works these wonders. Imagine that.

doctors with heart

 

Make Your Voice Heard

Make Your Voice Heard: Guidelines for Effective Advocacyadvocacy

One crucial part of my mental health recovery journey is  reaching out to help others in need. I do this in a variety of ways. One area that is truly a life saver for me is the volunteer work I do assisting people seeking Protection From Abuse orders, or PFA’s for short. Another area I concentrate on is acting as an advocate for people who are struggling because of their involvement in a system. I offer free help to those encountering issues with the legal system, medical system, tax system, benefits system, and school system the most often, although there are other systems I have tried to help untangle as well. I am learning through these experiences with individuals about the type of advocacy work that is done on a larger scale for whole groups.

Advocates for individual groups often meet unfair policies and practices that hinder rather than help their clients. Changes to such policies in the form of rules, regulations and laws, often require the support and commitment of legislators, political leaders and other policy makers. The following are some guidelines on how to be an effective advocate and communicate your message. Remember that efficiency requires education, both your own and your audiences, as well as reliability, accessibility and persistency.

Identify Your Goal

  • What do you want to accomplish? For example, decide if you want to introduce legislation to change a discriminatory employment practice like lifting a particular occupational bar or licensing restriction for people with criminal records.

Develop Your Strategy for Accomplishing Your Goal

  • Who has the power to effect your desired change? What is the process for the policy or regulatory change that you want to make and who has the power to make it. It could be legislators on the local, state or federal level, or perhaps, appointed commissioners on the state level who are responsible for promulgating the particular rule or regulation.
  • Who are your partners? Identify organizations and individuals that may share your goal and who can help you communicate your message. These may be local or statewide residents, coalitions of individuals and/or groups, as well as community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other advocacy groups.
  • What is the timeline for your goal? Be aware of legislative timelines, such as when the legislature is in session. Be patient, understand that achieving your goal could take a considerable amount of time.

Create Documents that Will Help You Communicate Your Message

  • Are your documents clear and concise? Politicians, policy makers and other officials, and their staff, are busy and often do not have time to read a lot of information. However, supplying them with written information that includes data and research on your issue may support your position. Therefore, make sure that the written materials that you provide them with are specific to the issue and the area that they represent.

Helpful Tips for Conducting a Meeting

  • When introducing yourself make sure that you identify yourself as a constituent or as someone who represents constituents.
  • State the point of the meeting at the beginning.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Listen as well as talk during the meeting, as well as take notes on questions or concerns that come up during the meeting.
  • Be honest. Acknowledge the positive and negative aspects of the issue.
  • Share written materials during the meeting, if it is appropriate, and leave them behind for the leader of the staff that you are meeting with to read.

Cultivate a Champion

  • Who can represent and advocate for your issue publicly and champion your goal? It can be incredibly beneficial to have a public figure, such as a famous person or politically powerful person, to help you with your advocacy and to deliver the message you need to achieve your goal. Regardless of who it is they need to be persistent, charismatic and effective.

Most importantly, don’t burn any bridges, whether you achieve your goal or not. You never know who you may need to work with again. Be a gracious winner or loser.