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Once arrested for pot possession, Lansing man now works as artist

People who are involved in or observe the criminal justice system in Michigan have various theories about the system's purpose. Some people believe that incarceration and other legal penalties are meant to punish the defendant. Others say that the purpose is to protect the public. Another argument is that the system is supposed to help offenders rehabilitate so that they will not get into legal trouble in the future. Or perhaps it is a combination of all three.

But for those who believe that those who get involved with drugs can never turn their lives around without hard time, we present the story of a Lansing-area man who has gone from drug trafficking to being a professional artist. He says that being put on probation helped him put drugs behind him.

The man was 20 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana. After he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession, the judge sentenced him to probation. The man was subject to regular drug testing which helped end his marijuana habit.

In the meantime, he began pursuing a career in art. He got a job as an apprentice to an internationally known artist in Grand Rapids. Among the projects he has worked on is a mural in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The man also works on his own projects at his home near Lansing.

His boss predicts that the man will be "an outstanding artist" and a positive influence in the community.

This resident is an example of how non-incarceration options can have a positive effect in drug crimes cases.

Source: The Alpena News, "Lansing artist turns life around after drug arrest," Kevin Grasha, June 21, 2013

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