Originally published July 7, 2016, by Side Effects Public Media.
It’s not something you expect to see in a courtroom: 35 women, chatting, laughing, eating lasagna. But brunch before the session is a weekly tradition at an unusual court in Columbus, Ohio.
Once the plates are cleared away and everyone sits down in a semicircle facing the bench, a probation officer steps to the center of the room, with an empty plastic bin and a big smile.
“You know I love you so much, right?” she says, as she collects everyone’s cell phones, to a chorus of groans.