The previous two years have been crammed with ups and downs, however these must-reads reminded our workers why we’re on this combat and impressed them to maintain urgent ahead in difficult occasions.
Our workers named these their strongest books of 2021. The checklist contains books by students, attorneys, exonerees, and kids of incarcerated dad and mom. The writing included touches on every little thing from the historical past of the flawed dying penalty system to the 1971 Attica Jail rebellion to an allegorical sci-fi story a couple of post-prison abolition world.
In the event you’re trying to take your understanding of justice and fairness to the subsequent degree, you’ll need to learn these and even take into account them as vacation items.
1. Let the Lord Kind Them: The Rise and Fall of the Dying Penalty by Maurice Chammah
Texas has proven a dogged dedication to finishing up executions, most of which unfairly goal Black males, individuals with mental disabilities, and people in poverty, for greater than 100 years. Previous to 2003, when Texas executed Larry Allen Hayes, the state had not executed a white man convicted of murdering since 1854, when a white man was executed for killing one other white man’s favourite slave. Maurice Chammah’s e-book investigates using the dying penalty within the state, which is chargeable for about one-third of all executions within the U.S.
“It’s concerning the historical past of the dying penalty in Texas and shares the tales of many people who’ve been a part of this historical past, for higher and for worse,” stated Emma Bratman, Innocence Undertaking’s post-conviction litigation paralegal. “It’s my favourite e-book that I’ve learn.” Out there to buy here.
2. The 1619 Undertaking: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
When you have not caught up with the New York Occasions’ 1619 Project, first printed on-line and within the New York Occasions Journal in 2019 now you can learn the expanded model of the Pulitzer Profitable-project in e-book kind. Nikole Hannah-Jones’ work is foundational in understanding the societal, cultural, and financial impression that slavery had and continues to have in america, together with its impression on mass incarceration. Out there for buy here.
3. Redeeming Justice by Jarrett Adams
Exoneree and former Innocence Undertaking Put up-conviction Authorized Fellow Jarrett Adams displays on his journey from wrongly convicted teenager to jailhouse legal professional to exoneree on this transferring memoir.
Whereas in jail, Adams devoured each authorized e-book he might get his arms on, hoping to chart a pathway to freedom. Within the course of, he turned the go-to authorized scholar within the jail and assisted others with their instances. In the present day, Adams is an legal professional who represents wrongfully convicted individuals and the founding father of Life After Justice, a company that helps exonerees by way of the challenges of re-entry.
“This proper here’s a blockbuster,” stated Christina Swarns, Innocence Undertaking’s government director, of the memoir. Out there to buy here.
4. Higher, Not Bitter: Dwelling on Goal within the Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam
Innocence Undertaking board member and member of the Exonerated 5, Yusef Salaam is a prolific author, however that is his first memoir reflecting instantly on what he skilled as a young person wrongly convicted within the notorious 1989 Central Park jogger case.
“His inspiring story is motivational and highlights the necessity for felony justice reform in America,” stated Nigel Quiroz, Innocence Undertaking’s group organizer.
Whereas the case has been written about extensively, is the topic of a documentary, and was most lately dramatized by Ava Duvernay within the collection When They See Us, on this poignant memoir we hear straight from Dr. Salaam. He brilliantly illustrates what it was wish to be an harmless Black little one, ferociously attacked within the courtroom of public opinion in what amounted to certainly one of America’s most polarizing media and political assaults. Out there to buy, here.
5. Till I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America by Keisha Blain
Keisha Blain thoughtfully positions Fannie Lou Hammer’s impression as a civil rights advocate alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. Hammer, co-founder of the Mississippi Democratic Occasion and the Nationwide Ladies’s Political Caucus, led efforts to register hundreds of disenfranchised Black voters and arranged actions to advance ladies’s rights. Dealing with immeasurable challenges as an impoverished and disabled Black lady from Mississippi, Hammer was nonetheless keen to make sacrifices to win equality for others, which is why Innocence Undertaking government director Christina Swarns keenly recommends the e-book. Out there to buy here.
6. Anyone’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
Tales about incarceration are sometimes centered on the individual in jail and the sufferer of the crime, leaving apart the deeply damaging impression of incarceration on households and communities. In her memoir, Ashley Ford displays on her father’s incarceration and complex relationship along with her mom.
“This memoir of the writer’s childhood and rising up with an incarcerated father explores the results of the felony authorized system from the attitude of household,” stated Tara Thompson, Innocence Undertaking’s senior workers legal professional. “If you wish to know why the outdated adage that ‘when somebody does time, their household does the time with them’ is true, learn this e-book.’” Out there to buy here.
7. The Sum of Us: What Racism Prices Everybody and How We Can Prosper Collectively by Heather McGhee
When you have ever questioned what the financial value of racism is and the way it touches all of us, Heather McGhee writes a superb evaluation that examines historical past, politics, and economics to reply this query. Her writing takes a deep take a look at simply how a lot racism has set us again as a society and assesses its penalties on every certainly one of us. Out there to buy here.
Help Darrill Henry this holiday season as he rebuilds his life after wrongful incarceration
8. I Am Troy Davis by Jen Marlowe, Martina Correia-Davis, and Troy Davis
It’s been a decade since Troy Davis was executed in Georgia for against the law he at all times maintained he didn’t commit. Davis’ case galvanized help from all over the world and impressed hundreds of advocates to affix the anti-death penalty motion. The e-book gives an intimate view into the loving individual Davis was and the racially charged world round him that led to his wrongful execution. Out there to buy here.
9. Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger
To organize for her externship on the Innocence Undertaking, Natalie Tamblyn discovered this assortment of tales of wrongful conviction useful. “I really feel it actually highlights how essential it’s for legislation enforcement to do their homework in investigating crimes but in addition how essential the work we do on the Innocence Undertaking is,” Tamblyn stated.
The riveting anthology contains the tales of 14 exonerees as instructed to thriller and thriller writers, together with Lee Little one, Sara Paretsky, and Laurie R. King. Out there to buy here.
10. A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Dying Penalty in 12 Essays by Marc Bookman
Marc Bookman has devoted his profession to preventing the dying penalty as the manager director of the Atlantic Middle for Capital Illustration and a former public defender in Philadelphia. On this assortment of essays, Bookman makes compelling arguments to finish the dying penalty primarily based on the numerous methods it has proven itself to be flawed, innacurate, racist, and ineffective.
“He weaves an unﬂinching portrait of twelve instances that illustrate in painful element why the dying penalty stays one of many biggest stains on the ethical material of our society,” Innocence Undertaking board member and ambassador Tony Goldwyn stated. “These essays will make your blood run chilly.” Out there to buy here
11. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
In Akwaeke Emezi’s whimsical novel, Black transgender teen Jam, is on the hunt for a kid abuser in her fictional city of Lucille — impressed by the depiction of comparable settings in Toni Morrison’s novels. Jam joins forces with a creature who comes alive from her mom’s portray in her quest to uncover the reality.
“This e-book is definitely about jail and police abolition and what justice might appear to be in a post-abolition world,” stated Lauren Gottesman, Innocence Undertaking workers legal professional. “I can’t cease recommending this e-book to adults regardless that it’s a younger grownup e-book. Out there to buy here.
12. The Colour of Regulation by Richard Rothstein
Richard Rothstein, a number one voice in housing coverage, ”describes how our authorities intentionally segregated America,” in accordance with Rebecca Brown, Innocence Undertaking’s director of coverage. His e-book examines how practices deliberately administered by way of the legal guidelines and coverage choices made by our native, state, and federal authorities proceed to hurt us at this time and stop racial fairness, regardless that redlining insurance policies have been banned. Out there to buy here.
13. Blood within the Water concerning the Attica Rebellion of 1971 by Heather Ann Thompson
Fifty years in the past, over 1,300 individuals incarcerated in New York’s Attica Correctional Facility organized an rebellion to protest years of gross mistreatment inside the establishment. Imprisoned individuals held guards hostage whereas they negotiated for extra humane dwelling situations over the course of 4 days. On the fourth day, the state despatched armed troops to overthrow the revolt, killing 39 individuals and injuring tons of. Ultimately, solely these incarcerated had been prosecuted, and the state didn’t help the households of these they’d killed.
In her e-book, Heather Ann Thompson amplifies the voices of the individuals impacted by the atrocity and their combat for justice. “It’s riveting and so properly researched,” Ed Boland, Innocence Undertaking’s director of growth, stated of the Pulitzer Prize profitable e-book. Out there to buy here.
14. The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas
In November, Innocence Undertaking purchasers Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam had been exonerated from the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. Their exoneration was primarily based on proof that supported their innocence and pointed to different suspects, which the NYPD and FBI hid on the time of their trial. Information unearthed within the investigation into their instances confirmed that legislation enforcement had data that might have prevented their wrongful conviction and years of incarceration.
Seeing justice delayed for Aziz and Islam, Natalie Baker, an Innocence Undertaking fellow, was reminded of the federal government’s killing of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Black Panther Occasion in Illinois. His homicide, orchestrated by the FBI and Chicago police who perceived the Black liberation group as a menace to nationwide safety, was depicted within the 2021 Netflix’s movie Judas and the Black Messiah. “[It’s] a well timed reminder of who really murdered one other revolutionary Black chief and organizer — a robust must-read,” Baker stated. Out there to buy here.
15. Police Violence In opposition to Black Ladies and Ladies of Colour by Andrea Ritchie
Andrea Ritchie’s e-book examines the racial profiling of and police brutality in opposition to Black, Indigenous, and brown ladies in America, an usually missed demographic. She focuses on the expertise of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, and Mya Corridor, who had been all killed by police, and Dajerria Becton and Monica Jones who survived violent and unwarranted altercations with police. Ritchie facilities ladies and trans ladies’s voices within the bigger dialog of mass incarceration and police brutality, guaranteeing that they don’t seem to be forgotten.
“This can be a essential e-book in 2021,” stated Denise Tomasini-Joshi, Innocence Undertaking’s chief of workers. Out there to buy here.