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
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
Praise for Orange Is the New Black
“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”—People (four stars)
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”—Los Angeles Times
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”—USA Today
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
A memoir of redemption, reform, and second chances amidst America's mass incarceration epidemic.
Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age 11, his parents' marriage began to unravel, and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.
Writing My Wrongs is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his. His work in the community and the courage to share his story led him to fellowships at the MIT Media Lab and the Kellogg Foundation and invitations to speak at events like TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival.
In equal turns, Writing My Wrongs is a page-turning portrait of life in the shadow of poverty, violence, and fear; an unforgettable story of redemption, reminding us that our worst deeds don’t define us; and a compelling witness to our country’s need for rethinking its approach to crime, prison, and the men and women sent there.
Caught smuggling half a million euros’ worth of cocaine, Paul Keany was sexually assaulted by Venezuelan anti-drugs officers before being sentenced to eight years in the notorious Los Teques prison outside Caracas. There he was plunged into a nightmarish world of coke-fuelled killings, gun battles, stabbings, extortion and forced hunger strikes until finally, just over two years into his sentence, he gained early parole and embarked on a daring escape from South America . . .
Aided by his extensive prison diaries, Keany reveals the true horror of life inside Los Teques: a shocking underworld behind bars where inmates pay protection money to stay alive, prostitutes do the rounds and vast amounts of cocaine are smuggled in for cell-block bosses to sell on to prisoners for huge profits. The Cocaine Diaries is a remarkable story, told by Keany with honesty, courage and even humour, despite knowing that every day behind bars might have been his last.
With the grace of a natural storyteller, NASA engineer Homer Hickam paints a warm, vivid portrait of the harsh West Virginia mining town of his youth, evoking a time of innocence and promise, when anything was possible, even in a company town that swallowed its men alive. A story of romance and loss, of growing up and getting out, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a chronicle of triumph--at once exquisitely written and marvelously entertaining.
One of the most beloved bestsellers in recent years, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir. A powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the end of the 1950s, it is the story of a mother's love and a father's fears, of growing up and getting out. With the grace of a natural storyteller, Homer Hickam looks back after a distinguished NASA career to tell his own true story of growing up in a dying coal town and of how, against the odds, he made his dreams of launching rockets into outer space come true.
A story of romance and loss and a keen portrait of life at an extraordinary point in American history, Rocket Boys is a chronicle of triumph.
Life On the Outside tells the story of Elaine Bartlett, who spent sixteen years in Bedford Hills prison for selling cocaine-a first offense under New York's harsh Rockefeller drug laws. The book opens on the morning of January 26, 2000, when she is set free, having received clemency from the governor. At forty-two, Elaine has virtually nothing: no money, no job, no real home.
What she does have is a large and troubled family, including four children, who live in a decrepit Lower East Side housing project. "I left one prison to come home to another," Elaine says. Over the next months, she clashes with her daughters, hunts for a job, visits her son and her husband in prison, negotiates the rules of parole, searches for her own home-and campaigns for the repeal of the sentencing guidelines that led to her long prison term.
In recent years, the United States has imprisoned more than two million people while making few preparations for their eventual release. Now these prisoners are coming home in record numbers, as unprepared for "life on the outside" as society is for them. Writing with a passion and an empathy that recall There Are No Children Here and Cold New World, Jennifer Gonnerman calls attention to this mounting national crisis by crafting an intimate family portrait-a story of struggle and survival, guilt and forgiveness, loneliness and love.
Life on the Outside is a 2004 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
Scott Turow is known to millions as the author of peerless novels about the troubling regions of experience where law and reality intersect. In "real life," as a respected criminal lawyer, he has been involved with the death penalty for more than a decade, including successfully representing two different men convicted in death-penalty prosecutions. In this vivid account of how his views on the death penalty have evolved, Turow describes his own experiences with capital punishment from his days as an impassioned young prosecutor to his recent service on the Illinois commission which investigated the administration of the death penalty and influenced Governor George Ryan's unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 death row inmates on his last day in office. Along the way, he provides a brief history of America's ambivalent relationship with the ultimate punishment, analyzes the potent reasons for and against it, including the role of the victims' survivors, and tells the powerful stories behind the statistics, as he moves from the Governor's Mansion to Illinois' state-of-the art 'super-max' prison and the execution chamber.
This gripping, clear-sighted, necessary examination of the principles, the personalities, and the politics of a fundamental dilemma of our democracy has all the drama and intellectual substance of Turow's celebrated fiction.
Michael G. Santos, a federal prisoner nearing the end of his second decade of continuous confinement, has dedicated the last eighteen years to shedding light on the lives of the men warehoused in the American prison system. Inside: Life Behind Bars in America, his first book for the general public, takes us behind those bars and into the chaos of the cellblock.
Capturing the voices of his fellow prisoners with perfect pitch, Santos makes the tragic--- and at times inspiring---stories of men from the toughest gang leaders to the richest Wall Street criminals come alive. From drug schemes, murders for hire, and even a prostitution ring that trades on the flesh of female prison guards, this book contains the never-before-seen details of prison life that at last illuminate the varied ways in which men experience life behind bars in America.
In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death—in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man’s already broken life, and let a true killer go free.
Praise for The Innocent Man
“Grisham has written both an American tragedy and his strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his bestselling fiction.”—The Boston Globe
“A gritty, harrowing true-crime story.”—Time
“A triumph.”—The Seattle Times
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham’s The Litigators.
It did not go according to plan.
Wells, picked up by police shortly after the robbery, never found the clues he needed. Investigating the crime after his grisly death, the FBI soon discovered that Wells was not, in fact, an innocent victim. He was merely the first co-conspirator to fall in a bizarre trail of death following the crime.
Jerry Clark, the lead FBI Special Agent who cracked what became known as the Pizza Bomber case, and investigative reporter Ed Palattella, who followed it from the beginning, tell the complete story, from the inside, for the first time.
* All Random House Large Print editions are published in a 16-point typeface
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the prison business, all roads lead to Texas. The most locked-down state in the nation has led the way in criminal justice severity, from assembly-line executions to isolation supermaxes, from prison privatization to sentencing juveniles as adults. Texas Tough, a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, shows how a plantation-based penal system once dismissed as barbaric became the national template.
Drawing on convict accounts, official records, and interviews with prisoners, guards, and lawmakers, historian Robert Perkinson reveals the Southern roots of our present-day prison colossus. While conventional histories emphasize the North's rehabilitative approach, he shows how the retributive and profit-driven regime of the South ultimately triumphed. Most provocatively, he argues that just as convict leasing and segregation emerged in response to Reconstruction, so today's mass incarceration, with its vast racial disparities, must be seen as a backlash against civil rights.
Illuminating for the first time the origins of America's prison juggernaut, Texas Tough points toward a more just and humane future.
Building on his Guardian pieces about teaching Philosophy in prison, this is Alan Smiths account in extenso. From introducing Plato to ever-changing groups of hard-nosed prisoners to them wrestling with Bentham, Larkin and Shakespeare, it is packed with insights and unexpected turns. It paints a picture in which worlds collide and conventional morality is turned inside out as new modes of discourse change the mens thinking and ideas. At times surreal the book brings fresh perspectives to the minutiae of prison life: survival, coping, soap, teabags, cell mates, the constant noise and immediacy. And needless to say, the men come up with philosophical gems of their own. Her Majesty Philosophers is also about isolation, the long hours, knockbacks and the emotional mutilation of imprisonment; and whilst philosophy is soft and fluffy it contrasts starkly with the pragmatic world of prison officers, for whom the Holy Grail is Security, Keys and Prison Craft. The book charts how learning changes lives, especially for prisoners who missed out on formal education, whoonce motivatedbecome voracious readers and extraordinary students. It demonstrates more than any official report the value of a wider agenda than Basic Skills. Prisons have been labelled Universities of Crime, but colleges are increasingly populated by those who began their studies in a prison cell. In a book packed with wisdom and humour the author laments the fact that prison policy means that this is becoming a far less easy step.
Born in Beverly Hills, Clarke was raised around the glamour of Hollywood and looked like a star herself, a beautiful blonde reminiscent of Grace Kelly. The choreographer Busby Berkeley spotted her at a restaurant and offered her a job, but Mary's dream was to be a happy wife and mother. She raised seven children, but her two unfulfilling marriages ended in divorce. Then in the late 1960s, in midlife, she began devoting herself to charity work, realizing she had an extraordinary talent for drumming up donations for the sick and poor.
On one charity mission across the Mexican border to the drug-trafficking capitol of Tijuana, she visited La Mesa prison and experienced an intense feeling that she had found her true life's work. As she recalls, "I felt like I had come home." Receiving the blessings of the Catholic Church for her mission, on March 19, 1977, at the age of fifty, she moved into a cell in La Mesa, sleeping on a bunk with female prisoners above and below her. Nearly twenty-eight years later she is still living in that cell, and the remarkable power of her spiritual counseling to the prisoners has become legendary.
The story of both one woman's profound journey of discovery and growth and of the deep spiritual awakenings she has called forth in so many lost souls, The Prison Angel is an astonishing testament to the powers of personal transformation.
Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.
The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers. Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.
Surprising and moving, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.
After killing a bank teller in a moment of panic during a botched robbery, Wilbert Rideau was sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. He spent several years on death row at Angola before his sentence was commuted to life, where, as editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, he undertook a mission to expose and reform Louisiana's iniquitous justice system from the inside. Vivid, incisive, and compassionate, this is a detailed account of prison life and a man who accepted responsibility for his actions and worked to redeem himself. It is a story about not giving up; finding love in unexpected places; the power of kindness; and the ability to do good, no matter where you are.
Nineteen-year-old Jovan Mosley, a good kid from one of Chicago’s very bad neighborhoods, was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. Charged with murder, he spent five years and eight months in a prison for violent criminals. Without a trial.
Jovan grew up on the rough streets of Chicago’s Southeast Side. With one brother dead of HIV complications, another in jail for arson and murder, and most kids his age in gangs, Jovan struggled to be different. Until his arrest, he was. He excelled in school, dreamed of being a lawyer, and had been accepted to Ohio State.
Then on August 6, 1999, Jovan witnessed a fight that would result in a man’s death. Six months later, he was arrested, cruelly questioned, and forced into a confession. Sent to a holding jail for violent criminals, he tried ceaselessly to get a trial so he could argue his case. He studied what casework he could, rigorously questioning his public defenders. But time after time his case was shoved aside. Amiable, bright, and peaceable, he struggled to stay alive in prison. As the years ground on, he’d begun to lose hope when, by chance, he met Catharine O’Daniel, a successful criminal defense lawyer. Although nearly all cases with a signed confession result in a conviction, she was so moved by him, and so convinced of his innocence, that Cathy accepted Jovan as her first pro bono client. Cathy asked Laura Caldwell to join her and together they battled for Jovan’s exoneration. Here is Laura’s firsthand account of their remarkable journey.
This is a harrowing true story about justice, friendship, failure, and success. A breakdown of the justice system sent a nice kid to one of the nation’s nastiest jails for nearly six years without a trial. It would take a triumph of human kindness, ingenuity, and legal jousting to give Jovan even a fighting chance.
Deeply affecting, Long Way Home is a remarkable story of how change can happen even in a flawed system and of how friendship can emanate from the most unexpected places.
"Punishment and Modern Society is an outstanding delineation of the sociology of punishment. At last the process that is surely the heart and soul of criminology, and perhaps of sociology as well—punishment—has been rescued from the fringes of these 'disciplines'. . . . This book is a first-class piece of scholarship."—Graeme Newman, Contemporary Sociology
"Garland's treatment of the theorists he draws upon is erudite, faithful and constructive. . . . Punishment and Modern Society is a magnificent example of working social theory."—John R. Sutton, American Journal of Sociology
"Punishment and Modern Society lifts contemporary penal issues from the mundane and narrow contours within which they are so often discussed and relocates them at the forefront of public policy. . . . This book will become a landmark study."—Andrew Rutherford, Legal Studies
"This is a superbly intelligent study. Its comprehensive coverage makes it a genuine review of the field. Its scholarship and incisiveness of judgment will make it a constant reference work for the initiated, and its concluding theoretical synthesis will make it a challenge and inspiration for those undertaking research and writing on the subject. As a state-of-the-art account it is unlikely to be bettered for many a year."—Rod Morgan, British Journal of Criminology
Winner of both the Outstanding Scholarship Award of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section
The price they paid was a ten-year sentence in the hell of the overcrowded Venezuelan prison system, notorious for corruption and abuse, and rife with weapons and gangs. At one point, Frank was held in the remote El Dorado prison, better known for being the one-time home of Henri Charrière, or Papillon. He witnessed countless murders as gang leaders fought for power, and he had to become as ruthless as his fellow inmates in order to survive. In an attempt to dull the reality of the horrendous conditions, he succumbed to drugs.
After enduring years of systematic beatings by the guards and attempts on his life by inmates, Frank suffered more than one breakdown. He lost over four stone and was riddled with disease, but somehow he found the strength within himself to survive and was eventually released in 2004 after serving over seven years of his sentence. During the long walk back from hell, Frank decided to tell his story.
From Alcatraz and Devil's Island to La Santé, France and Boscobel, USA 'supermax', this book is about the eternal cat and mouse game played out between convicts and the warders who try to keep them behind the four tall walls of 'the Big House'.
These pages are packed with accounts of repressive prison regimes and the people who fight against them, the vicious
hierarchies that operate within the prison population, what it's like to be on Death Row, riots and hostage-taking, violent abuse by both guards and inmates, plus daring escapes against the odds.
From institutional corruption and sadistic punishments to drug smuggling and prisoner murder, Maximum Security lets you peer between the cell bars into a hidden world of crime and punishment.
When Ted Conover’s request to shadow a recruit at the New York State Corrections Officer Academy was denied, he decided to apply for a job as a prison officer himself. The result is an unprecedented work of eyewitness journalism: the account of Conover's year-long passage into storied Sing Sing prison as a rookie guard, or "newjack."
As he struggles to become a good officer, Conover angers inmates, dodges blows, and attempts, in the face of overwhelming odds, to balance decency with toughness. Through his insights into the harsh culture of prison, the grueling and demeaning working conditions of the officers, and the unexpected ways the job encroaches on his own family life, we begin to see how our burgeoning prison system brutalizes everyone connected with it. An intimate portrait of a world few readers have ever experienced, Newjack is a haunting journey into a dark undercurrent of American life.
Found guilty of the rape and murder of a woman he had never met, Nick Yarris was sentenced to death.
With appeal after appeal failing he spent twenty-two years waiting to die.
This is the true and amazing story of how he survived Death Row.
Audience: The investor looking to invest in real estate using lease options.
Lease Options are becoming quite the buzz word lately. Years ago it was harder for me to get Realtors to even consider a Lease Option for their clients. Today, markets all across the country have changed. Lease Options are currently a viable industry trend and needed for many sellers to sell their homes.
What is a Lease Option?
A Lease Option is a way to purchase real estate, usually with very little or no money down, sometimes even with money back in the investor's pocket. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't. Can an investor end up with money in their pocket and not have to put 10-20% down to purchase real estate? Yes. This technique is used commonly today by the most successful real estate investors.
The lease option strategy gives an investor the right to lease a home and also the right to purchase the home during or before the end of the lease period. An option is a contract that gives an optionee the right to exercise a privilege - and in the case of real estate investing, it gives the optionee (investor) the right to purchase property during a contracted period of time. It is a technique that involves gaining a control' of a property, without the total burdens of ownership.
ALL money made in real estate is made by controlling property. Owning property is the most obvious way to control it, but control is possible without ownership - and control is what makes the money. It was a dying John D. Rockefeller who told all of us his secret to achieving great wealth, "Control everything, own nothing." All of the most successful real estate developers today utilize options, in one form or another.
A sandwich lease option involves the investor selling the home to a tenant buyer through "sandwiching" themselves in the middle of the deal.
When doing any lease option deal, it is one of my mottos that everyone must win or don't do the deal. There are 3 people involved in a Sandwich Lease Option: the seller, you (the investor) and the tenant/buyer. It must be a win/win/win, otherwise walk away.
Sandwich lease options are extremely profitable for real estate investors.
For the last eighteen years, Jens Soering has experienced the inside of many different prison environments, from a youth remand center in London to America's notorious Supermax prisons, to medium-security institutions. What he has seen and experienced has convinced him that not only do prisons not rehabilitate prisoners who may be useful for society once their sentence has ended, but prisons turn petty criminals into hardened convicts--all at enormous expense to society. Meanwhile, other nations control their crime rates at a fraction of the cost of the United States correctional system.
Soering does not argue that prisons should not exist or dispute that there are people who need to be locked away. His book is not an indictment of the legal system that lands many people in prison. Instead, An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse offers a mainly monetary analysis of why it is absurd fiscal policy to lock people up so often and for so long.
Now, New Yorker staff reporter Lawrence Weschler tells the extraordinary story of how, against tremendous odds, torture victims and human-rights activists in two Latin American countries—Brazil and Uruguay—tried to bring their torturers to justice and to rehabilitate their whole societies from harrowing periods of silence and repression. In this first of his two accounts, he tells how a tiny group of torture victims, clerics, and human-rights activists in Brazil launched an extremely risky, nonviolent plot to get even with the former torturers by publishing an indisputable account of their savage system of repression—indisputable because it is drawn from the regime’s own files. In the second, set in Uruguay, he tells how a more broadly-based movement attempted to bring to light the dark history of a military regime engaged in more political incarceration per capita than any other on earth at that time.
In this illuminating and beautifully written book (portions of which appeared in five issues of The New Yorker), Weschler examines what a small number of individuals can do to retrieve history and truth from the hands of torturers.
The Death of Punishment challenges the reader to refine deeply held beliefs on life and death as punishment that flare up with every news story of a heinous crime. It argues that society must redesign life and death in prison to make the punishment more nearly fit the crime. It closes with the final irony: If we make prison the punishment it should be, we may well abolish the very death penalty justice now requires.
The incongruity of seeing hope where one would expect only hopelessness, self-control in men who were there because they'd had none, sparked an urgent quest in him. Having gained unlimited and unmonitored access, Bergner spent an unflinching year inside the harsh world of Angola. He forged relationships with seven prisoners who left an indelible impression on him. There's Johnny Brooks, seemingly a latter-day Stepin Fetchit, who, while washing the warden's car, longs to be a cowboy and to marry a woman he meets on the rodeo grounds. Then there's Danny Fabre, locked up for viciously beating a woman to death, now struggling to bring his reading skills up to a sixth-grade level. And Terry Hawkins, haunted nightly by the ghost of his victim, a ghost he tries in vain to exorcise in a prison church that echoes with the cries of convicts talking in tongues.
Looming front and center is Warden Burl Cain, the larger-than-life ruler of Angola who quotes both Jesus and Attila the Hun, declares himself a prophet, and declaims that redemption is possible for even the most depraved criminal. Cain welcomes Bergner in, and so begins a journey that takes the author deep into a forgotten world and forces him to question his most closely held beliefs. The climax of his story is as unexpected as it is wrenching.
Rendered in luminous prose, God of the Rodeo is an exploration of the human spirit, yielding in the process a searing portrait of a place that will be impossible to forget and a group of men, guilty of unimaginable crimes, desperately seeking a moment of grace.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jennifer Wynn, the director of the Fresh Start program at Rikers, takes readers into the jails and then back out-to the communities where her students were born and raised. She chronicles their journeys as they struggle to "go straight" and find respect in a city that fears and rejects them.
Part memoir, part social commentary, Inside Rikers details the author's experiences on Rikers. Wynn offers a compelling portrait of its 18,000 inmates and how Rikers was transformed from one of the most violent jails into one of the safest.
In this “moving condemnation of the U.S. penal system and its effect on families” (Parents’ Press), award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein takes an intimate look at parents and children—over two million of them—torn apart by our current incarceration policy. Described as “meticulously reported and sensitively written” by Salon, the book is “brimming with compelling case studies . . . and recommendations for change” (Orlando Sentinel); Our Weekly Los Angeles calls it “a must-read for lawmakers as well as for lawbreakers.”
New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms. But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.
Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
On August 13, 1986, just one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton went to work at his usual time. By the end of the day, his wife Christine had been savagely bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bed—and the Williamson County Sherriff’s office in Texas wasted no time in pinning her murder on Michael, despite an absolute lack of physical evidence. Michael was swiftly sentenced to life in prison for a crime he had not committed. He mourned his wife from a prison cell. He lost all contact with their son. Life, as he knew it, was over.
Drawing on his recollections, court transcripts, and more than 1,000 pages of personal journals he wrote in prison, Michael recounts the hidden police reports about an unidentified van parked near his house that were never pursued; the bandana with the killer’s DNA on it, that was never introduced in court; the call from a neighboring county reporting the attempted use of his wife’s credit card, which was never followed up on; and ultimately, how he battled his way through the darkness to become a free man once again.
“Even for readers who may feel practically jaded about stories of injustice in Texas—even those who followed this case closely in the press—could do themselves a favor by picking up Michael Morton’s new memoir…It is extremely well-written [and] insightful” (The Austin Chronicle). Getting Life is an extraordinary story of unfathomable tragedy, grave injustice, and the strength and courage it takes to find forgiveness.
This book was written to help anyone who is preparing to go to prison with the possibilities, expectations, and realities of their situation from the strain it will put on a marriage, to the conversations you will need to have with your children. You will learn everything you need to know about prison that the system is unwilling to tell you. Learn how visitation works and how often you will be able to see your family. Learn how to discuss prison with your children and how to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse regardless of the duration of your incarceration. Learn about the unique issues women go through in prison. Learn how to write a loving letter and how to effectively bide your time in prison without succumbing to the temptations and bad influences. Learn how to maintain your dignity and the respect of your children despite everything that has happened, by consistently keeping in touch.
After interviewing more than 100 past and present inmates along with their families, this book provides a complete perspective into how people respond to the prospect and reality of incarceration, and what you can do to prepare for those realities. Learn what prison life is really like depending on your crime and where you will be sent. Learn how you can reduce your prison time through good behavior and how you can: prepare your family for your departure, prepare your finances, ensure friends or family members will help your spouse, and set aside the necessary resources to maintain your family's lifestyle and comfort. For anyone preparing to go to prison and leaving behind a family, this book will provide the necessary information that no one else is willing to tell you before you go in.
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Outstanding Academic Title from 2011 by Choice Magazine
Too often, the criminal justice system silences victims, which leaves them frustrated, angry, and with many unanswered questions. Despite their rage and pain, many victims want the opportunity to confront their offenders and find resolution. After the Crime explores a victim-offender dialogue program that offers victims of severe violence an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their incarcerated offenders. Using rich in-depth interview data, the book follows the harrowing stories of crimes of stranger rape, domestic violence, marital rape, incest, child sexual abuse, murder, and drunk driving, ultimately moving beyond story-telling to provide an accessible scholarly analysis of restorative justice.
Susan Miller argues that the program has significantly helped the victims who chose to face their offenders in very concrete, transformative ways. Likewise, the offenders have also experienced positive changes in their lives in terms of creating greater accountability and greater victim empathy. After the Crime explores their transformative experiences with restorative justice, vividly illustrating how one program has worked in conjunction with the criminal justice system in order to strengthen victim empowerment.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Her trial and conviction became one of the biggest news stories of the decade and her family watched in horror as she was sentenced to 20 years in jail. Yet despite the huge media coverage, the one voice the public never properly heard was Schapelle's. Now, in this compelling book, she tells her own story: of being wrenched from a carefree holiday and incarcerated in a stinking police cell and of learning to survive - in the squalor, discomfort and violence of an Indonesian jail. It is an account like no other and will be one of the most unforgettable books you'll ever read.
TORN APART INNER-CITY COMMUNITIES
Forty years in, the tough on crime turn in American politics has spurred a prison boom of historic proportions that disproportionately affects Black communities. It has also torn at the lives of those on the outside. As arrest quotas and high tech surveillance criminalize entire blocks, a climate of fear and suspicion pervades daily life, not only for young men entangled in the legal system, but for their family members and working neighbors.
Alice Goffman spent six years in one Philadelphia neighborhood, documenting the routine stops, searches, raids, and beatings that young men navigate as they come of age. In the course of her research, she became roommates with Mike and Chuck, two friends trying to make ends meet between low wage jobs and the drug trade. Like many in the neighborhood, Mike and Chuck were caught up in a cycle of court cases, probation sentences, and low level warrants, with no clear way out. We observe their girlfriends and mothers enduring raids and interrogations, "clean" residents struggling to go to school and work every day as the cops chase down neighbors in the streets, and others eking out a living by providing clean urine, fake documents, and off the books medical care. This fugitive world is the hidden counterpoint to mass incarceration, the grim underside of our nation's social experiment in punishing Black men and their families. While recognizing the drug trade's damage, On The Run reveals a justice system gone awry: it is an exemplary work of scholarship highlighting the failures of the War on Crime, and a compassionate chronicle of the families caught in the midst of it.
"A remarkable feat of reporting . . . The level of detail in this book and Goffman's ability to understand her subjects' motivations are astonishing—and riveting."—The New York Times Book Review
Dive into the macabre history of England and Old Europe in this treasure chest of historical punishments. In the pages of Medieval Punishments are punishments from a less enlightened period, creating a thoroughly researched historical document that sheds light on the evolution of society and how humans have maintained social order and addressed crime.
In a town called Newcastle-on-Tyne, a drunkard cloak was a barrel that offenders were made to wear. In Anglo-Saxon times, each town was required to build stocks to hold breakers of the peace. To the Romans, beheading was considered the most honorable of deaths. It’s these details that make Medieval Punishments a compelling read for social historians and important component of human history.
Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city's Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.
-Katherine S. Newman
"Doing Time on the Outside brings to life in a compelling way the human drama, and tragedy, of our incarceration policies. Donald Braman documents the profound economic and social consequences of the American policy of massive imprisonment of young African American males. He shows us the link between the broad-scale policy changes of recent decades and the isolation and stigma that these bring to family members who have a loved one in prison. If we want to understand fully the impact of current criminal justice policies, this book should be required reading."
-Mark Mauer, Assistant Director, The Sentencing Project
"Through compelling stories and thoughtful analysis, this book describes how our nation's punishment policies have caused incalculable damage to the fabric of family and community life. Anyone concerned about the future of urban America should read this book."
-Jeremy Travis, The Urban Institute
In the tradition of Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street and Katherine Newman's No Shame in My Game, this startling new ethnography by Donald Braman uncovers the other side of the incarceration saga: the little-told story of the effects of imprisonment on the prisoners' families.
Since 1970 the incarceration rate in the United States has more than tripled, and in many cities-urban centers such as Washington, D.C.-it has increased over five-fold. Today, one out of every ten adult black men in the District is in prison and three out of every four can expect to spend some time behind bars. But the numbers don't reveal what it's like for the children, wives, and parents of prisoners, or the subtle and not-so-subtle effects mass incarceration is having on life in the inner city.
Author Donald Braman shows that those doing time on the inside are having a ripple effect on the outside-reaching deep into the family and community life of urban America. Braman gives us the personal stories of what happens to the families and communities that prisoners are taken from and return to. Carefully documenting the effects of incarceration on the material and emotional lives of families, this groundbreaking ethnography reveals how criminal justice policies are furthering rather than abating the problem of social disorder. Braman also delivers a number of genuinely new arguments.
Among these is the compelling assertion that incarceration is holding offenders unaccountable to victims, communities, and families. The author gives the first detailed account of incarceration's corrosive effect on social capital in the inner city and describes in poignant detail how the stigma of prison pits family and community members against one another. Drawing on a series of powerful family portraits supported by extensive empirical data, Braman shines a light on the darker side of a system that is failing the very families and communities it seeks to protect.