Samantha Henson spent her fall semester in San Francisco through the Westmont in San Francisco Program, an opportunity she discovered through Wheaton’s Global and Experiential Learning Department. While interning at San Francisco’s Public Defenders Office, she specifically worked the Community Justice Center (CJC), an innovative court system established by the city. The CJC helps drug and petty theft clients in custody rejoin society through various methods and programs, such as residential treatment programs throughout the city and mandatory weekly discussion groups. Each client is assigned a case manager and comes to court weekly to check if they are in compliance with their court orders. In this program, clients serve their time out of custody and are helped with their problems rather than kept behind bars.
“In all honesty, I gained incredible wisdom during my internship that I know I will take with me for the rest of my life. I was able to truly challenge the knowledge I gained at Wheaton on both political and spiritual levels. Social issues that I learned in political science classes became tangible as I met people daily in court who wanted to end their drug addictions or provide for their families. It gave me an even deeper calling to fight injustices in our world and great confidence that Wheaton has prepared me well for the fight.”