Paperback: The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The prison population has increased from 300,000 in the early 1970s to more than two million now. One in every 15 people is expected to go to prison.
For black men, the most incarcerated group in America, this figure rises to one out of every three.
Bryan Stevenson grew up a member of a poor black community in the racially segregated South. He 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 the US’s criminal justice system.
One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young black 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, startling racial inequality, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted lawyer’s coming of age, a moving portrait of the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice. It won the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-fiction, the 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the NAACP Image Award for Best Non-fiction and the 2017 The Stowe Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. It was named a Book of the Year by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Esquire and Time and shortlisted for the CWA Non-fiction Dagger 2015.
Just Mercy (2015) is a powerful, bold true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix America’s broken system of justice - from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
With more than two million incarcerated people in the United States, an additional six million people on probation or parole and an estimated sixty-eight million Americans with criminal records, there are endless opportunities for you to do something about criminal justice policy or help the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. If you have an interest in working with or supporting volunteer programs that serve incarcerated people, organizations that provide re-entry assistance to the formerly incarcerated or organizations around the globe that seek reform of criminal justice policy, please contact the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama or visit their website at www.eji.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author: Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of colour. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.