Author: Dave Eggers, Lola Vollen
Publisher: Verso Books
Surviving Justice presents oral histories of thirteen people from all walks of life, who, through a combination of all-too-common factors—overzealous prosecutors, inept defense lawyers, coercive interrogation tactics, eyewitness misidentification— found themselves imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. The stories these exonerated men and women tell are spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring. These narrators include: Paul Terry, who spent twenty-seven years wrongfully imprisoned, and emerged psychologically devastated and barely able to communicate. Beverly Monroe, an organic chemist who was coerced into falsely confessing to the murder of her lover. Free after seven years, she faces the daunting task of rebuilding her life from the ground up. Joseph Amrine, who was sentenced to death for murder. Seventeen years later, when DNA evidence exonerated him, Amrine emerged from prison with nothing but the fourteen dollars in his inmate account.
On September 30, 2003, Calvin was declared innocent and set free from Angola State Prison, after serving 22 years for a crime he did not commit. Like many other exonerees, Calvin experienced a new world that was not open to him. Hitting the streets without housing, money, or a change of clothes, exonerees across America are released only to fend for themselves. In the tradition of Studs Terkel's oral histories, this book collects the voices and stories of the exonerees for whom life — inside and out — is forever framed by extraordinary injustice
Author: Dave Eggers, Lola Vollen
Publisher: Voice of Witness
Surviving Justice presents oral histories of thirteen people from all walks of life, who, through a combination of all-too-common factors--overzealous prosecutors, inept defense lawyers, coercive interrogation tactics, eyewitness misidentification-- found themselves imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. The stories these exonerated men and women tell are spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring. These narrators include: Paul Terry, who spent twenty-seven years wrongfully imprisoned, and emerged psychologically devastated and barely able to communicate. Beverly Monroe, an organic chemist who was coerced into falsely confessing to the murder of her lover. Free after seven years, she faces the daunting task of rebuilding her life from the ground up. Joseph Amrine, who was sentenced to death for murder. Seventeen years later, when DNA evidence exonerated him, Amrine emerged from prison with nothing but the fourteen dollars in his inmate account.
Author: Saundra Davis Westervelt, John A. Humphrey
Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr
The American criminal justice system contains numerous safeguards to prevent the conviction of innocent persons. The Bill of Rights provides nineteen separate rights for the alleged criminal offender, including the right to effective legal representation and the right to be judged without regard to race or creed. Despite these safeguards, wrongful convictions persist, and the issue has reverberated in the national debate over capital punishment.The essays in this volume are written from a cross-disciplinary perspective by some of the most eminent lawyers, criminologists, and social scientists in the field today. The articles are divided into four sections: the causes of wrongful convictions, the social characteristics of the wrongly convicted, case studies and personal histories, and suggestions for changes in the criminal justice system to prevent wrongful convictions. Contributors examine a broad range of issues, including the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, particularly in cross-racial identifications; the disadvantages faced by racial and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system; and the impact of new technologies, especially DNA evidence, in freeing the innocent and bringing the guilty to justice. The book also asks such questions as: What legal characteristics do wrongful convictions share? What are the mechanisms that defendants and their attorneys use to overturn wrongful convictions? The book also provides case studies that offer specific examples of what can and does go wrong in the criminal justice system.The contributors argue that the most important single characteristic among wrongful conviction cases is the chronic denial by politicians and prosecutorsof the existence of a problem and their failure to act decisively when evidence of a possible wrongful conviction comes to light.
Author: Scott Christianson
Publisher: NYU Press
Innocent graphically documents forty-two recent criminal cases to find evidence of shocking miscarriages of justice, especially in murder cases. Based upon interviews with more than 200 people and reviews of hundreds internal case files, court records, smoking-gun memoranda, and other documents, Scott Christianson gets inside the legal cases, revealing the mistakes, abuses, and underlying factors that led to miscarriages of justice, while also describing how determined prisoners, post-conviction attorneys, advocates, and journalists struggle against tremendous odds to try to win their exonerations. The result is a powerful work that recounts the human costs of a criminal justice system gone awry, and shows us how wrongful convictions can—and do—happen everywhere.
Exit to Freedom
Author: Calvin C. Johnson, Jr.
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
"The only firsthand account of a wrongful conviction overturned by DNA evidence"--Cover.
Voices from the Storm
Author: Lola Vollen, Chris Ying
Hurricane Katrina inflicted damage on a scale unprecedented in American history, nearly destroying a major city and killing thousands of its citizens. With far too little help from indifferent, incompetent government agencies, the poor bore the brunt of the disaster. The residents of traditionally impoverished and minority communities suffered incalculable losses and endured unimaginable conditions. And the few facilities that did exist to help victims quickly became miserable, dangerous places. Now, the victims of Hurricane Katrina find themselves spread across the United States, far from the homes they left and faced with the prospect of starting anew. Families are struggling to secure jobs, homes, schools, and a sense of place in unfamiliar surroundings. Meanwhile, the rebuilding of their former home remains frustrating out of their hands. This bracing read brings readers to the heart of the disaster and its aftermath as those who survived it speak with candor and eloquence of their lives then and now.
Imagine you are in prison for a crime you did not commit. You cannot believe what has happened to you and you're certain the system will correct the error--yet years later you're still behind bars. In "Pruno, Ramen, and a Side of Hope" those who have been wrongfully convicted tell stories of hope, redemption, and how they continued to believe that the system that put them behind bars would eventually find them innocent. Get a glimpse of life inside some of America's prisons and discover how each exoneree survived, and in some cases thrived and prevailed against overwhelming odds.
Author: Tara Herivel, Paul Wright
Publisher: The New Press
Synopsis: The astonishing range of industries, corporations, and individuals profiting from the imprisonment of over 2.3 million Americans. "Positive: With the baby boomlet demographics, we foresee increasing demand for juvenile [incarceration] services. Negative: ... it is often difficult to maintain the occupancy rates required for profitability."--A report produced for the private prison industry by investment analysts First Analysis Securities Corporation. Locking up 2.3 million people isn't cheap. Each year federal, state, and local governments spend over $185 billion annually in tax dollars to ensure that one out of every 137 Americans is imprisoned. Prison Profiteers looks at the private prison companies, investment banks, churches, guard unions, medical corporations, and other industries and individuals that benefit from this country's experiment with mass imprisonment. It lets us follow the money from public to private hands and exposes how monies formerly designated for the public good are diverted to prisons and their maintenance. Find out where your tax dollars are going as you help to bankroll the biggest prison machine the world has ever seen. Contributors include: Judy Greene on private prison giants Geo (formerly Wackenhut) and CCA; Anne-Marie Cusac on who sells electronic weapons to prison guards; David Lapido on how private corporations profit from prison labor; Wil S. Hylton on the largest prison health care provider; Ian Urbina on how prison labor supports the military; Kirsten Levingston on the privatization of public defense; Jennifer Gonnerman on the costs to neighborhoods from which prisoners are removed; Kevin Pranis on the banks and brokerage houses that finance prison building; and Silja Talvi on the American Correctional Association as a tax-funded lobbyist for professional prison bureaucracies.
Author: Anthony Graves
Publisher: Beacon Press
The author, a wrongfully convicted man who spent sixteen years in solitary confinement and twelve years on death row, describes his ordeal and exoneration.
What Is the What
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: Vintage Canada
What Is the What is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee in war-ravaged southern Sudan who flees from his village in the mid-1980s and becomes one of the so-called Lost Boys. Valentino’s travels bring him in contact with enemy soldiers, with liberation rebels, with hyenas and lions, with disease and starvation, and with deadly murahaleen (militias on horseback)–the same sort who currently terrorize Darfur. Eventually Deng is resettled in the United States with almost 4000 other young Sudanese men, and a very different struggle begins. Based closely on true experiences, What Is the What is heartbreaking and arresting, filled with adventure, suspense, tragedy, and, finally, triumph. From the Trade Paperback edition.
For ten years, Voice of Witness has illuminated contemporary human rights crises through its remarkable oral history book series. Founded by Dave Eggers, Lola Vollen and Mimi Lok, Voice of Witness has amplified the stories of hundreds of people impacted by some of the most crucial human rights crises of our time, including men and women living under oppressive regimes in Burma, Colombia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe; public housing residents and undocumented workers in the United States; and exploited workers around the globe. This selection of narratives from these remarkable men and women is many things: an astonishing record of human rights issues in the 21st century; a testament to the resilience and courage of the most marginalized among us; and an opportunity to better the understand the world we live in through human connection and a participatory vision of history.
The Words We Live By
Author: Linda R. Monk
Publisher: Hachette Books
THE WORDS WE LIVE BY takes an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, gun control, and affirmative action. In THE WORDS WE LIVE BY, Linda Monk probes the idea that the Constitution may seem to offer cut-and-dried answers to questions regarding personal rights, but the interpretations of this hallowed document are nearly infinite. For example, in the debate over gun control, does "the right of the people to bear arms" as stated in the Second Amendment pertain to individual citizens or regulated militias? What do scholars say? Should the Internet be regulated and censored, or does this impinge on the freedom of speech as defined in the First Amendment? These and other issues vary depending on the interpretation of the Constitution. Through entertaining and informative annotations, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY offers a new way of looking at the Constitution. Its pages reflect a critical, respectful and appreciative look at one of history's greatest documents. THE WORDS WE LIVE BY is filled with a rich and engaging historical perspective along with enough surprises and fascinating facts and illustrations to prove that your Constitution is a living--and entertaining--document. Updated now for the first time, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY continues to take an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, and affirmative action.
One of Elle's "Must-Read Titles for Your Book Club." Chosen by The Millions and Flavorwire as one of the most-anticipated books of 2016. The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called “folk tales that hammer like a nail gun,” and these 40 new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny. Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams’s spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction’s grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief.
Author: Bryan Stevenson
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
#1 New York Times Bestseller | Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction | Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction | Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award | Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize | Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize | An American Library Association Notable Book A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. Praise for Just Mercy “Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books “Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times “You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review “Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post “As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times “Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”—John Grisham “Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow