What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done — spray painted a reproductive organ on a traffic sign? Loitered intensely? Did you have to do time for it?
Chances are, probably not. The backwards ways of America’s justice system are pretty well known — certain races are more likely to be punished for the same crime than other races, and sometimes things just go totally haywire. This appears to be what happened in the case of a certain “Gregory,” which Filter Mag describes as a “young man of color whose full identity is being protected by his attorneys.”
His skin tone is important, because it may have played a hand in his recent six month sentence for the crime of eating a cookie in rehab. Yes, he was sent to spend half of a year in jail because he ate a cookie. Surely this can’t be how the cookie crumbles?
Who's going to jail for stealing the cookies from the cookie jar?
Gregory’s attorney, Dana Drusinsky, explained that her client was “on probation for a non-drug offense when he repeatedly called 911 for a mental health crisis. His probation officer was not too pleased and filed a motion to revoke probation; the Public Defender’s Office is still unsure on what legal grounds, as the PO’s paperwork has not been delivered. Somehow, Gregory ended up in drug court.”
From there, he was sent to the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center residential rehab program in San Francisco. The model for treatment is a month-long “forced detox,” followed by another month-long “blackout period” where patients are limited access to friends, family and the outside world. Enter the criminal apparatus … or, the cookie. Whichever you prefer.
Part of the Harbor Light residents’ duties were to pack lunches for homeless people. One day, there was one cookie left over after the lunches were packed. He ate it, because why not? To Harbor Light, this was one step away from Chernobyl.
“Harbor Light staffers then went into Red Alert mode, demanding to know who ate it. Gregory admitted the cookie-eating immediately, but staff threatened to watch all the surveillance footage in the room to prove their case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.'”
Gregory was then given two options to atone for his sins — do another blackout period at Harbor Light or go to jail for six months. The rest is history.
Gregory served his sentence in solitary confinement until he had a “rehearing” Tuesday, Dec. 10, which changed his sentence and allowed him to go free.
So, things worked themselves out — but the big questions remain — how and why did this happen in the first place? And how many people are wrongly sentenced, suffering consequences for the rest of their lives? Gregory is free to eat cookies wherever he pleases now, but while freedom may taste sweet, chances are he’ll forever associate cookies with a bitter memory.
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