In Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, he writes to illustrate the injustices of the judicial system to its readers. To do so, Stevenson utilizes multiple writing styles that provide variety and helps keep the reader engaged in the topic. Such methods of his include the use of anecdotes from his personal experiences, statistics, and specific facts that apply to cases Stevenson had worked on as well as specific facts that pertain to particular states.
Have you ever had an experience that altered or shifted your understanding of something? Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson examines the experience of Bryan as he fights cases for people on Death Row, including those who have been wrongly imprisoned and/or have a mental illness. Through his interaction with Henry, Marsha, and Jim, Bryan’s level of understanding redemption and hopefulness was altered.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. By Bryan Stevenson. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Pp. 368.
There are many victims of unfortunate circumstances in the world today, yet some of these results could have been easily avoided. In the novel, Just Mercy, the author Bryan Stevenson addresses many cases in which children under the age of 18 are incarcerated within the adult criminal justice system. By treating children as adults in the criminal justice system their innocence and undeveloped person, become criminalized. These children become dehumanized and only viewed as full-fledged criminals and as a result society offers no chance sympathy towards them. Stevenson argues that children tried as adults have become damaged and traumatized by this system of injustice. His claim that children should not be tried as adults is agreeable because
In 2010, the U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that African Americans receive 10% longer sentences than whites through the federal system for the same crimes. In the 19th and early 20th century, that percentage was higher. Many people think that the US 's legal system truly provides justice for all people unlike back in the early 1900s, but the fact written above could be very easily compared to what racism was like in the 1930s. Although the United States’ legal system has improved some over the past 60 years through the Great Depression and many other hardships, this country’s legal system is still failing at providing justice for all people.
In America, the private prison industry was made for necessary profit based off of the management of prisons by large, private companies. In David Shapiro’s insightful report “Banking on Bondage”, he discusses the logistics of the United States prison system, saying “In America, our criminal justice system should keep us safe, operate fairly, and be cost-effective”. Today, the United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world, including Russia, China, and Iran. Alongside the issues of private prisons, the increasingly apparent problem of mass incarceration has stripped record numbers of American citizens of their freedom, has a minimal effect on public
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
Bryan Stevenson knew the perils of injustice and inequality just as well as his clients on death row. He grew up in a poor, racially segregated area in Delaware and his great-grandparents had been slaves. While he was a law student, he had interned working for clients on death row. He realized that some people were treated unfairly in the judicial system and created the Equal Justice Institute where he began to take on prisoners sentenced to death as clients since many death row prisoners had no legal representation of any kind. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson focuses on some of these true stories of injustice, mainly the case of his client, Walter McMillian.
For the Application of the Criminal Justice System project of the Criminal Justice course, I chose the arrest of John Burke. This case is about the arrest and sentencing of John Burke who had shot and killed Joseph Ronan. Twenty-five year old John Burke agreed to meet with 22 year old Joseph Ronan at Ronans home, in Reading, Massachusetts on Monday, August 15, 2011 around 1pm, with the intent of purchasing Percocet pills. (Boston.com, 2013) However, shortly after entering Ronans home, Burke opened fire (News, 2011), and after shooting Joseph Ronan several times, with the belief that Ronan was involved in a robbery at Burkes apartment in April 2011 (Boston.com, 2013), fled the home. Ronans grandfather (Daniel, 2011), who had been in the home
When you look out at the world today; it won’t take you long to point out all the tragic and horrific things that are occurring daily which include: terrorism, the current refugee situation, genocide, poverty, and mass murders among many others tragedies. Currently in the world today, people desperately need more love than hate, more compassion than judgment, more grace than harshness, and more justice than inequity. These qualities are important (love, compassion, grace) in order to making a difference in the world today, but I want to focus on justice and how it affects people with disabilities. The online English-Oxford Dictionary defines justice as, “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people” I do not agree with this definition entirely; I believe the word justice is more accurately defined as, “respect and compassion for all people no matter what situation they are in.”
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy (Stevenson 109) .” This bold statement is one of many as Bryan Stevenson sets the tone for his renowned award winning novel Just Mercy. As a young lawyer from Georgia, built the foundation for his company, SPDC (Southern Prisoners Defense Committee) to help convicts that are on death row or in need a second chance. Bryan Stevenson, a young lawyer from Georgia who fought for justice on the behalf of inmates on death row, showed tremendous intelligence in becoming a successful lawyer, demanding for not backing down in moments of refusal, and was an overall advocate
In Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” there is an underlying sense of hope that is seen in spurts through the constant stories of injustice and unfairness that take place. Throughout the book there are multiple people that are wrongly condemned and have to suffer on the dreaded death row. All of the inmates of the row know they will eventually be executed, but only a select few stay positive and give the reader a sense of hope in such a negative situation. Mr. Jenkins is one of those men. The mentally ill man was in and out of foster care as a child, and his terrible experiences lead to more serious brain damage. The trauma lead to him stabbing a man without even knowing it, which brought him to the death row. Not only does he have to deal with
Prior to the mid-1960 virtually all mental health treatment was provided on an inpatient basis in hospitals and institutions. The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was established with its primary focus on deinstitutionalizing mentally ill patients, and shutting down asylums in favor of community mental health centers. It was a major policy shift in mental health treatment that allowed patients to go home and live independently while receiving treatment, (Pollack & Feldman, 2003).
In the book Just Mercy: A story of Justice and Redemption Bryan Stevenson details his story of his experiences as a lawyer fighting for justice. This story encompasses over twenty-five years worth of impactful cases and how policy changes, due to major Supreme Court cases, were dealt with locally. The main issue that he was dealing with was the death penalty, and how it was systematically being misused. The main focus of the book to showcase this was on the case of Walter McMillian. After the murder of Ronda Morrison, a well known white woman in the area, there was a lot of pressure exerted by the community on the sheriff to make an arrest on the case. After a loose connection between Walter and Ronda, the sheriff decided to arrest him. In
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community. Michelle Alexander, similarly, points out the same truth that African American men are targeted substantially by the criminal justice system due to the long history leading to racial bias and mass incarceration within her text “The New Jim Crow”. Both Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Michelle Alexander’s text exhibit the brutality and social injustice that the African American community experiences, which ultimately expedites the mass incarceration of African American men, reflecting the current flawed prison system in the U.S.