Trigger Warning: Content in this episode involves conversations on human trafficking and trauma-based family dynamics.
Lasheyl Stroud brought her expertise and authentic understating to share the work being done in and around the juvenile court system. At the time of recording, Lasheyl is growing past her role as Lead Magistrate, and running for judge of the Franklin County Court. She prepped the discussion by first explaining the difference between a judge and a magistrate. Lasheyl handled cases in Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court, which typically involve family-based issues. She also handled cases in Empowerment Court, where cases relate to human trafficking.
Going across the state, and working with a sense of urgency, Lasheyl participated in every part of the court. The urgency comes not from a lack of time, but is sustained by clarity and passion. In her experience, she represented parents and children. From full time commitments at the Attorney General’s Office to volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem, her focus on social justice impact exposed her to a wide range of experiences. Her passion and focus come from a profound sense of care, which explains the actions she upholds when children, children she considers as if they’re her own, are involved directly in court cases.
Moving to a topic the public is less educated on, Lasheyl described the system of human trafficking from the perspective of her role in court. Unlike movies, human trafficking often begins with familiar figures in an individual’s life. Family and romantic partners are predators more often than people imagine. She revealed the name “Empowerment Court” is meant as a message to empower the victims within the court cases.
Youth are showered in a love that is pure and genuine for the duration of the transition through court. Court staff, child services, and related stakeholders tend to be the first healthier examples of adults for some youth in court. Lasheyl unpacks the careful and attentive approach used to build true relationships with the youth. Lasheyl also dives into the delicate details of family dynamics. For example, removing youth from environments where the a parent is allowing the child to be trafficked by a significant other.
If urged to add to the love being given to the youth, Lasheyl shared that people can donate gift cards, clothing, or other forms of service. As a step further, she also mentioned training conferences and mentoring programs can help people become more educated towards the social issue.
Our discussion changed direction towards juvenile delinquency. Based on Lasheyl’s explanation, the harshest issue becomes the lingering consequence felt by youth after being engaged in the court system. Court personnel and volunteers aim to resolve this issue, with one hopeful option being restorative justice circles.
In closing, Lasheyl took a deep dive into her journey through the social justice sphere that led to running for judge during COVID-19. (So, go out and vote, and vote all the way down your ticket!)