Just Mercy

Thoughts jmbybs by Bryan Stevenson, Spiegel & Grau 2014, 349 pages

Genre:  Nonfiction, Death Penalty Debate
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now: Mr. Stevenson is speaking next month as part of a prominent lecture series in town. The Local Indie Bookstore is having book club discussions and offered a discount on the book.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am interested in the work Mr. Stevenson does through the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The EJI provides legal support for inmates sentenced to die for their crimes – most in the US South but all over the country, as well. They have grown the organization and they now helps children serving time in prison without parole and has effectively influenced federal legislation concerning these issues. They provide support to these men and women after they have been released from prison.

Mr. Stevenson shares about how he got started in this career field, the beginning of the EJI, and gives an intimate look at his first few cases.

WHAT’s GOOD: His dedication to serving the poor and unfortunate is amazing.

What’s NOT so good: The descriptions of the justice system willfully acting illegally and with evil intent are maddening.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Just maddening.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

Not that pie in the sky stuff, not a preference for optimism over pessimism, but rather “an orientation of the spirit.” The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong.

I think my next read will be Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.

 

pierating

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