About this Episode
We hope you found value in part one of this podcast. Thank you for joining us for this second segment. Welcome to today’s episode of The Communication Solution podcast with Casey Jackson, John Gilbert and Danielle Cantin. We love talking about Motivational Interviewing, and about improving outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the communities that they serve.
The episode focuses on the intersection of communication strategies and the justice system. Judge Mary Logan, with 35 years of experience as an attorney and a judge, shares insights into how communication, specifically motivational interviewing, can be integrated into legal practice. The discussion revolves around balancing compliance-based models with behavior-change models, improving outcomes for individuals in the legal system, and innovative approaches in judicial settings.
In this podcast, we discuss:
- Adapting Communication for Impact: The podcast delves into how judges like Logan are seeking to adapt their communication styles to maximize impact in limited timeframes.
- Empowering Individual Change: Logan discusses the concept of empowering individuals to identify and work towards their values, using tools like the Focus Mountain.
- Integrating Personalized Approaches: The potential for personalized approaches in judicial settings, including the use of symbolic items like rocks representing personal strengths, is explored.
- Response to Judicial System Critiques: The podcast acknowledges the current criticisms of the justice system and looks at how innovative communication and empathetic strategies can contribute to reform and improvement.
- Fostering Community Reintegration: Logan emphasizes the importance of judicial practices that support community reintegration and reduce recidivism.
- Potential for System-wide Change: The conversation suggests the potential for systemic change in the justice system through improved communication techniques and empathy-driven practices.
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Thank you for listening to the communication solution. This podcast is all about you. If you have questions, thoughts, topic suggestions, or ideas, please send them our way at email@example.com. For more resources, feel free to check out ifioc.com.
We hope you found value in part one of this podcast. Thank you for joining us for this second segment.
Hello and welcome to the communication solution podcast with Casey Jackson and John Gilbert. I’m your host, Danielle Cantin, here at the Institute for Individual and Organizational Change, otherwise known as IFIOC. We love to talk about communication. We love to talk about solutions and we love to talk about providing measurable results for individuals, organizations, and the communities they serve. Welcome to the communication solution that will change your world.
And when you say that Mary, the thing that I just, I mean, we’re in the middle of this, but I can tell right now, just between you and I right now, I, now it’s making my brain. I think because when you were talking about what, when you’ve watched the officers and those videos that I have there, there are just profoundly short.
I mean, these interactions that are 8 and a half minutes long and life changing, truly life changing suicide prevention, just things that change people’s lives. And when I developed the motivational interviewing competency assessment that might get a measure. Conversations when you and I, when you submitted the 1st, recording of chambers that was, that was okay for you to submit to me to, to review, the tool that I used at the time required a 20 minute sample size of an M.
I. based conversation. Part of the reason I developed the Micah instead was. So many doctors and nurses I worked with their conversations are five to 15 minutes long. They don’t even get it. So it’s like, how do we, how do we use this in a way that’s truly looking at fidelity and not just good communication?
Good communication is, is important. It’s great. Good communications, great communications. Yay. But where does evidence show that we’re going to impact behavior change? And that’s why when, when I was working on the mica to think about how can we measure this and get feedback? Now, my obsession with you is now I want to sit in the community court and watch these three minute conversations and just analyze those and go, okay, how do you maximize time?
How do you maximize time? How do you maximize time now that. Now, if the judge has maybe four minutes of quality time, other than the three minutes of doing the required reading, how do you maximize that four minutes? And, and I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think this is where I get excited about innovation because people didn’t believe that this could happen with law enforcement.
When I started working law enforcement, officers did not believe it could happen. When I first showed up, they were the, they were the, they were first in line to say this won’t work. As I’m sitting there standing in front of them in trainings, and now that they see it working, I see this now on the judicial side that it’s like, wow, if we can maximize three to four minutes and the more that I’m studying on brain science, like the precision, if your brain, Mary Logan’s brain is so precise around law and application of law at this stage in time, wouldn’t it be fun to come to that level of precision of being able to understand language and have both of those skillsets to be able to master.
Like to me, that truly is the next frontier potentially in, in restorative justice is like, how do we think from that perspective and use every time I open my mouth, I can see the impact it’s having on the brain. And I’m not even the therapist, you know, I’m sitting on the bench and thinking about how can I help this person reintegrate into their community, which reduces crime.
And, and I don’t see these people again, because they’re, they’re moving on with their lives. I mean, that to me is wow. I mean, fairytale. But fairy tale in a good way. It’s like, oh my gosh, let’s read that book and see where it goes. Like, I . That’s right. I wanna go, I wanna go sit in. I, I really do. I think I, if you know, if it’s appropriate, if I can sit in on some of those, situations, my brain is just gonna be, that’s like open court.
We’re, we’re an open, but what you just said, also as I’m thinking about in community court, ’cause I have the luxury of time in community court, and I was just, as you were saying those things, I’m like, and I waste it. I have to do it and it’s part of our, I mean, like what I’m thinking about here is I, sit face to face with our participants in community court.
So they’ve just by fundamentals, they are referred in, they come to the downtown library, they are, um. met by the attorneys, the strength of the cases measured. Can it go to trial? Do they want to go to trial instead? Because our court’s an opt in, you don’t have to. But if they opt in, then they immediately get evaluation to see what their needs are, and then they craft up what’s known as the stipulated order of continuance, with the conditions being Get your identification, have, maybe a SUD evaluation, follow through with treatment, and then, you know, sign up for housing and, you know, all of the details of their lives that are lacking, that they need the support for, then become the conditions they have to meet in order to have the case dismissed, along as, as well as, you know, don’t pick up new charges.
And that’s all discussed with them with, by their attorney, and then they come to me. And I go through that. So my, my, it’s this, I’m having an epiphany right in front of you. My, my first moments with them, other than I always greet them. How are you doing today, sir? You know, they, they, they’re very, very open, free flow conversation to a point.
I have to put some stops up to begin with or at some points, but, but then when it comes down to we’re going on the record and they’re entering the deal, I spend. All of that time going through that contract with them, what, you know, so you’re going to be with us for the next three months. And then I go through the details of it and reiterate the same thing that they’ve already heard.
And then that’s it. That’s it. I don’t, I mean, I try to imbue more into it. But at that point, again, I’m at the very end of all of that process, and they have been handled now for anywhere from probably at the very least 20 to 30 minutes and probably upwards more of 30 to 40 minutes. So coming into the court and you know having their stuff set aside and then talking to the attorney and then talking to our probation officer and having that evaluation and then striking the deal and then coming to me.
So they’re like, I want to go, they’re done with the super gritty stuff that’s there. And while I, I tried to talk to them at, in that process, and there’s times where there are revelations that are made about the agreement where I’ll bring in the attorney because it’s like, this doesn’t, Seem to make sense in terms of where we’re at.
So they see me not advocating for them, but listening to them and then addressing those kinds of issues. But it, as I, it is, it is, I wish there, I want to create more different time than that with them. And so now I’m gonna work on that because it, it, it is the, it is one of those opportunities. The only pressure is they want to get out of there because they’re tired, right?
And we feed them lunch and they’re always hungry. I try to feed them along the way so that blood sugar is maintained and, you know, if they’re coming off of some whatever bad drug night or alcohol night or whatever the night before. That they can get at least something in them to, to try to stabilize them, physically stabilize them.
And that’s, that’s not so anxious as to, can I get my lunch now? Like, can I stop talking about these things? Because it’s a big, huge load of stuff that lands on their lap. Here, here’s all the stuff to fix your life. Yeah. So, you know, I try to back it back down again and say, okay, so let’s talk about what’s the one thing you’re going to work on.
I have to, I have to enforce the community service component. So, you know, I, I give them options about that. And it’s all very technical. It’s not, it’s not, okay. You’re living on the streets. Which I acknowledge with them, you’re living on the street and I’m asking you to come either to the, one of the shelters to do community service or, you know, trying to figure out how to change that so that they can see that that behavior reintegrates them into society.
And that’s the reason why we have community service as a component is they are disenfranchised. They are like aliens in our city and I don’t want them to feel like aliens because. If they have ownership of our city, I’m hopeful that that change in their mindsets, right, would change in their behavior, as they interact with the city.
So, that, you know, I do have to talk to them about why I have to front load that and we can kind of get into the details. But such valuable time as they sit there, we are eyeball to eyeball, I don’t sit up on a dais, I’m not up above anybody, it’s just us all at the same level and they’re, you know, whatever, two feet away from me, probably closer to a judge than they have ever been, under circumstances that are super relaxed.
It’s not like we’re surrounded by guards or anything, as we’re not. Right, right. So very frank and open possibilities. And there have been times where I could, I have stepped into, where I would feel like maybe I had used it a little bit more successfully, but I’m, I have to re figure out those first, that first contact with them that is so formal.
Cause it’s just like court and we designed it to be just like court. And yet there we are doing the exact same thing as if I were up where I’m normally in my regular courtroom, the thing, the very thing I’m trying to avoid. You know, Mary, I, I mean, this is a little far out there, but, but I think conceptually for me, what’s clicking with me is, there’s an organization, a center for employment opportunities.
It’s a national. Nonprofit that not in Washington state, but in lots of major cities that they specifically help, recently incarcerated individuals get into employment. They literally give them paychecks every day. They get cards and they get paid every day. So, because that’s part of the problem is they can’t even wait for the first paycheck for most of the individuals once they’ve been released.
Phenomenal, very progressive program. But what struck me about that was that they were so excited when I went down into Oakland, the office in Oakland, they were like, I was going down to another training with them and they’re so excited. Okay. See, you can’t wait to see this. We got this for you. And I show up there and what they had done is in the lobby where they do the intake, they had painted.
Focus mountain on the wall from floor to ceiling. And that’s where they sit and that’s where they sit and do the intake and show them the different things, the trees they have to go through. But all they focus on the whole time is we’re voluntary. And do you want to get to the top of the mountain? Nice.
It was literally, and they painted, I’m saying black and silver for the Oakland Raiders, but the entire mountain is this literally floor to ceiling, you know, probably 10 to 12 feet wide. Going up to the ceiling, and they kind of walked as they’re sitting there doing their initial intake with them.
They’re walking through the process and pointing out and they said, our whole focus is to get you to the top of your mountain as you define it. So that I want that. As my backdrop, right? That’s exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking, Oh my gosh. And if that’s where you started conversations, because they’re going to go, what the hell is that behind her?
And, and they go, you know what? I am just one of the trees here. Instead of, I think that pulls you, you know, off the bench and straight into the conversation and going, these trees are not going anywhere. These boulders that have dropped in your life that, you know, partially you’ve pushed in your life aren’t going anywhere.
But we can help you get to the top of the mountain if you so choose. So if you think this is a dance to reduce a sentence or to move into something else, many people use it that way. But the reason why I’m here is to help you get to the top of the mountain. And I don’t want you to think that I’m just one of these trees.
This whole process is to help you, but I know most of you sitting in front of me. Genuinely just think this is a way to get something else off your record or to, you know, I, that’s where your mindset, which is normal because who wants to be in this process. But if you truly want to get to the top of the mountain, those are the conversations that I want to have with you every time that we meet.
Cool. Yes. So I remember the first time that I went through the training with you, I’m like, I need to blow up that tree. I want to put, you know, put it in my courtroom and then I didn’t do it, but I tell you what, I’m going to get ahold of Sarah, who was also a part of the training this last time with you.
And we have a little bit of funding now, and maybe, maybe it can be used for that. If not, I’m going to do it on my own. What we do have as the backdrop, which is probably too subtle of messaging to be really absorbed by the individuals because, you know, so broken when they’re sitting in front of me, they are fresh, hot, cold off the street, but we have all, I have graduation trees and each of our participants is a leaf on that tree.
And so when they graduate from community court, then they get to place themselves on these trees. So we have the backdrop for me as the 3 trees that we have right now filled with. the names of those folks that had graduated. So again, the idea of being visualizing themselves as a part of that treat. But I think it’s too subtle.
I don’t think that, you know, well, they get it at graduation time. I’m not sure in the middle of it where, you know, they just took their last fentanyl hit five hours before they came into court that they’re looking at that going. Oh, yes, I want to be one of those. Oh, my God. Okay. I’m such a visual person.
Here’s my thought. What you do is you have that graduation tree. As the only tree at the top of the mountain with all the values, and then you have leaves all along the path of people that haven’t made it lower down, not the names, but just leaves without names. And then the, the 1 at the top of the mountain, there’s just 1 tree.
Your tree is at the top of the mountain, and that’s where the leaves go, and just have leaves scattered around the rest of the mountain and only name the trees on focus mountain with the things are part of the court process with treatment. You know, classes, they have to go to community service, just have both the trees and just say, we, you have, we have to navigate these trees, but here’s the people that have made it to the top of the mountain.
And, I think that, and all, and, and what I would do is if I was in your position, I would just say, what are two or three things, your best case scenario, what are two or three of the values at the top of the mountain. That you think best describe who you are and how you want to operate, because that’s how I’m going to see you.
And those are the things that I’m going to hold you accountable for as your judge, is, is your behavior in alignment with these things. So here’s another, a reversed opportunity that I’m going to now switch because. As a part of the graduation process, I stole the idea from, when you make your way through a, a, the coins, right?
As you’re making progress, you get a coin, right? So for graduates, I use, because I get to know them fairly well, or a little bit at any rate. I, I have rocks that have words inscribed like courage or strength or faith or things like that. And I tried to pick a word that kind of matched their progress.
So that when they leave court, they, that rock goes in their pocket and it’s from, I say, and I tell, I, you know, I fill that rock with those, that same, which is, this is how I have seen you. And this is the strengths that you’ve demonstrated. And if you have, you know, I said, everybody waivers when they get out, but if you have, I want you to look at that and understand that you successfully navigated this, and it was because of this, this one particular strength here.
That was one of the mini so that they can always have, you know, a little bit of us with them as they make their way. People love those. They tell me all the time, but I think it’s a lost opportunity for them to be invested in that from the get go. Right. To create their own courage, their own strength along the way.
So. I love that. Okay. Now there, I should be writing notes. And I’ll tell you the other thing, Mary, I’ll add one more little twist to that is I would, I think it would be phenomenal if you did two rocks. I think if they identify the top of their mountain and that’s one of their rocks and there’s this, whatever the, the quality you saw in them is the second rock.
So there’s the one rock that they focused on the entire time for the top of their mountain word. And then the one that you and saw in them as kind of the, the backup support from as an outside observer, what you witnessed and you’d like them to hold on to for the, you witnessed for them. I think that would be one, one rock for each pocket.
I think that one for each hand, I just think that, and I think would you working from that focus mountain perspective and having them define that and just saying you’re tired, you’re exhausted, you needed food. I would literally even put lunch as one of the trees. I’m just saying, you know, there’s all these things that have the attorney, you know, the public defender here and the, and the, just all the, all those, I would put every part of your process as one of the trees, everyone, and then I would just have them and the exact same words that I have on the top of the mountain and just have them pick one word and say, this is the thing as the judge, I’m going to hold you accountable to.
Are you really operating from a place where you genuinely want your freedom back or your independence or do you operate from integrity and that’s what I’m going to judge you on is if your behavior is aligning with that. That’s wonderful. Thank you. What a gift. Perfect. This is, this is where I, this is where I get a little giddy.
I get a little goofy in these situations. I’m like, Oh my gosh, this actually makes change in the world. This is exactly what you and I were talking about. Like, I got in the field as a social worker as way. You know, you went the path you did. It’s just it to this one person. If it matters, my day is like, I, I can’t believe I got a paycheck for helping one person today.
Like that is mind boggling. Feel very lucky. I’m very fortunate. Yep. Yep. Awesome. You and I are going to have ongoing conversations, obviously we’ll have to be shooting emails back and forth to go, okay, would this work? But I do, I think with open court, I, I want to, I want to learn more about that. And I really do want to start to get my brain to think that next frontier of innovation.
In the judiciary of like, how can I help people understand? How do you maximize 3 to 5 minutes after you’ve had to do the script of what you have to say for record? Is there a way to maximize that? Are there specific ways to ask open ended questions? Do you get truncated answers that aren’t closed-ended questions.
And then how do you master finding change or change talk in three to five minutes like that? Almost like on steroids, like, am I on steroids for a three to five minute conversation? Yeah. I, I wanna start to and learn culturally and contextually how the court system works that way and how to. How in these situations that you could take this to a whole different level that hasn’t been applied yet.
So I, I have was of course, in my ever ending quest to try to improve this, I went online and this, I just typed in motivational interviewing for judges and there’s a social worker MSW. I think he is Michael Clark actually created 13 questions or openings or something like that when you are, you know, on the bench.
which I spread far and wide through the District of Municipal Court Judges Association and, in an effort. He actually came and spoke. I, I had asked for you, but they went with him to judge me. And, and so I have handed out that just as, at least it’s something for other judges, just even if they don’t go through any training, if they just could see, you know, how those questions are really about.
behavior change, like one of them, was, felt like it was a little bit confrontational. But just to asking somebody that’s made some changes is like, how in the world did you do this when you had that, you know, in essence that monkey on your back? And like it sounded like a little bit chastising, but people were very responsive when, well, for example, I had asked that question to them because they, it let them know that I saw how hard it is when you’re struggling with addiction and it really is.
It’s not a monkey. It’s like a 50 zillion pound weight that alters your entire world’s perspective. But, but when you see that glimmer, right, when you start to see that radiation coming from, it’s like acknowledging that work that, that comes along with it. And so that, that, that has been very helpful, but it just, again, it’s just, it never feels like it’s enough.
I agree. Thank you so much for doing this. I am just like, I can’t even, I’m just, I’m very appreciative. I, we may have to do this again to see how things go. So I just, for you to carve out time and to, to be so open and, and, transparent about it is just, and I just extremely appreciative. Thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
It’s, it is, it is, I’ve always tell everybody anytime I can talk about these things, give me, just give me a mic because I think it’s important. I, I would hope that more judges would participate in most racial interviewing training, as well as the attorneys that I just system wide that if, even if it’s who knows how they would use it or how they would incorporate it, it’s the exposure to it to understand there’s a different way of communicating than just that wrote.
Whatever, in essence, credit for time served and close and I feel like you’ve, you know, done your, done your job because we’ve only just begun, you know, and I, and I think absolutely. And I think this is where I think, you know, not that we’ll have a road show, but I think that if you and I push this a little bit and and look at it through a fidelity application model, and, and, and see any.
If you feel any different, even any, any outcomes change because of that, I think that’d be just wonderful to share besides just sheets of paper that we can actually give them some structural, like, how do we do this better? How do we, how do we go to the next level? How do we write the next chapter of the fairytale book?
Down the yellow brick road, we’ll go. so much. All right. Good for today. Thanks for showing up and hopefully we’ll chat again soon. Thanks, Mary. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the communication solution podcast with Casey Jackson and John Gilbert. As always, this podcast is about empowering you on your journey to change the world.
So if you have questions, suggestions, or ideas. Send them our way at Casey at IFIOC. com that’s Casey@IFIOC.com. For more information or to schedule a training, visit IFIOC. com. Until our next communication solution podcast, keep changing the world.