interview with James Cole, a victim’s advocate at San Quentin

Interviewer: Hello, my name is Jason Owen, and I'm working on an article about children who become victims of crime in the United States. I was hoping you could help.
Cole: Hello to you as well, yes. How can I assist?
Interviewer: That's it. I just had a few questions that I was hoping you could answer.
Cole: All right, shall we get going before I decide differently?
Smiley interviewer: "Good, So tell us your name and what you do for a living.
Cole: I'm James Cole, a San Quentin advocate, and my main area of interest is advocating for victims of crime, particularly that committed by minors.
My line of works is quite challenging and demanding. However, it is in the midst of such hardships that we work hand in hand as a team with fellow advocates to ensure we serve our purpose rightfully.

Interviewer: Oh that is wonderful; it is encouraging that you and the team work to pin down and outweigh the obstacles that come your way. Is there anything that you might have forgotten to mention?

Cole: Yeah, it is a job full of experience andinteractions.

Interviewer: So what are the major experiences that you face?

Cole: This is a technical job and therefore the experience is trying to fight for the victim’s rights and also consider the legal perspectives and counter-checking to ensure that the rights of the juvenile delinquents are not violated in any manner whatsoever.

Interviewer: How sure are you that the juvenile you are defending has/hasn’t committed the offences they are alleged to have committed?

Cole: I have to admit that that is the actual point unto which the technicality of the job applies. The cord of that abides us to the job requires total honesty and so we stand for what is true at all cost. We stand to ensure that the family members of the victim are heard in the due course of the litigation process.

Interviewer: Does the judicial system contribute to the technicality of you job at any particular point in time?

Cole: Of course, there are times when the courts make rulings against both interests of the family members and those of the advocates that are representing the victims in such cases.

Interviewer: What do you do as one of the advocates who stands to be affected by such rulings as far as the victims and their family members are concerned?

Cole: In the event such setbacks occur, the family members are advised and encourage to get in touch with the advocates involved. The family members must consider having an advocate who resides or may be accessible in county that the prosecutions are scheduled to take place.

Interviewer: What is the worst experience that teen offenders undergo?

Cole: There are times when a teen offender’s case is re-opened. In the event of such an occurrence, the family members may not be informed. Such moments may be hard considering that some if not all of these teen offenders are fragile and rely upon the encouragement they get from their family members to be strong during their cases. The pressure and the desolation they feel, may lead them to paths they never intended. Some of them go to the extreme of committing suicide.

Interviewer: So that’s where you as advocates come into the picture?

Cole: Exactly, so that we stand by these teens so that they don’t feel utterly neglected and totally unloved.

Interviewer: Is there any point in time that you feel like a hero for saving lives?

Cole: As per my opinion, I wouldn’t have it that way. What I do believe in is that all human beings irregardles of their age, status or rather gender basis, deserve justice. When I talk of justice, I mean all the dimensions unto which justice may apply. That is what I strive to see. A society that everyone feels happy to be a part.

Interviewer: What are some of the court rulings that you are not in tandem with?

Cole: As an advocate for juvenile delinquents, I have the duty to protect their interests such as opposing some of the rulings made by the Supreme Court regarding my clients. I am against over-sentencing or the incarceration of juvenile offenders. This is due to the fact that some of these convicted teens are offenders that are either minimally culpable or innocent. The litigation of incarceration on culpable offenders is a means of using risk assessment carefully as a tool. In the end, the tool ends up getting innocent victims incarcerated.

Interviewer: Is there any critical point you forgot to mention?

Cole: Yeah, the scientific information compiled by the United States Citizens’ Resource has devised methods to prevent violence. In addition, the organization has come up with better means that help evaluate the sentencing of offenders. These methods could help control the issues about juvenile victims of crime.

Interviewer: Well, Cole I am so grateful for your assistance on my article. Thank you so much

Cole; Don’t mention it. It is my pleasure to have been of help.

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