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EJI confronts racial injustice, advocates for equality, and creates hope for marginalized communities. I find that it important to add the site for the law office and civil rights initiative that this book is entirely about.
This website displays the stories of people who experienced sexual assault in prison. In most of the stories nothing was done to help the victims. Many of the survivors obtained conditions after the trauma, such as mental illness or HIV, which killed some victims. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson spoke of the story of Trina Garnett, who was sent to an adult prison at the age of 14 and was raped shortly after, becoming pregnant. Bryan after worked to try to end sexual abuse in her prison, winning privacy and ending abuse. To end this sexual assault in prison people must demand more protections for prisons and their inmates. The government will listen to the people if our voices are loud enough.
"Jails and prisons have become the mental asylums of the 21st Century"—CNN
This article by Anasseril R. Daniel explores americas incarcerated mentally ill and solutions to the problem. Studies found that most of the ill were poor and/or uneducated, as many had an issue with drug addiction. Daniel sees that the simple answer to this all is access to treatment. He sees that prisons should have private mental health wards that focus on the treatment of the patient, not the profit. Everything should be done to make sure that these people receive the care they need. Medication for the ill in prison is often looked at as extra cost and is cut, keeping many people from the treatment that the desperately need, such needs to end. Suicide is very common in prisons and it should be the responsibility of the prison as a whole to make sure that prisoners have adequate support, instead of just placing the burden on the mental health staff only. Daniel also sees that those who experienced problems with substance abuse and addiction should receive treatment for such as well. Other than detoxification, which occurs naturally in prison, inmates should be treated with medications that end the cravings all together and keep them away. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson saw some of his clients struggle without adequate care for their mental conditions and argued that someone's existing condition should influence a shorter sentence than one would receive knowing that they do not have any condition.
Dr. Benjamin Johnson is a clinical psychologist who has worked with a diverse set of people of different ages, genders, races, etc. His experience allows an individual perspective on what he thinks race is, and why it matters. Johnson defines race as a concept that in itself is racist. He sees that race was established to distinguish one from another and thus, break us further apart. Dr. Johnson found that race matters for positive reasons such as giving one an identity, but is negative because this identity causes some to discriminate, stereotype, and act erratically towards other races. He gives the example of when a white police officer handcuffed black boys on their way to the community center because he thought they were doing or going to do something dangerous, to strengthen his point on negative racial discrimination. Similarly, in Just Mercy, this racial discrimination occurred frequently, from wrongful convictions, to unfair sentences, to the treatment of prisoners, discrimination was a driving factor for many instances in the book.
Journalist Robert Fieseler discusses race relations, in America, as a social construct with Harvard instructors, Michael Baran and James Herron. In the interview, it is asked if children learn to be racist, or if they are just born like that. Baran responds with: "Children come into the world prepared to learn certain things. And they actively learn them. You don't have to teach it to them...Children’s brains are picking out these groups in the world. Their brains are trying to understand power dynamics." In this he imply's that some parents actively are racist, and that the children pick that up from them. However, he also says: "Parents teach kids the basic lessons: Treat everyone equally. Don't discriminate. Everyone is the same. We're all good. But kids end up developing these implicit or unconscious associations that have numerous effects: in school and at work and at home and in the court system". Referencing how these people act slightly different in non-white neighborhoods or areas and that children pick up on that, no matter how much these parents preach equality. Baran argues that racism is taught, and that people are not born racist. This relates to the book "Just Mercy" due to certain events that occurred. In the book, one guard who gives Bryan a hard time eventually admits that his childhood is the reason why he is racist, and that it wasn't until Bryan that he realized that everyone really isn't that different. Such event in the book further proves that racism is taught, not born with.
In this article by David Von Drehle, the death penalty is argued to be dying; the argument is based on facts father than biases. David sees that the death penalty has changed over time in the way it is gone about, from hangings to lethal injection, and argues that societies increased awareness of what exactly occurs is killing support. He gives his reasons behind why the penalty should die, one of which, pertained to racism. "The second historical purpose has been discredited by time: the death penalty was a powerful tool of white supremacy. The antebellum South was haunted by the possibility of slave uprisings; capital punishment was used to tamp down resistance". However, he also says: "If there is a bias propping up today’s death penalty, it is one of class rather than race". In my book, "Just Mercy", the author also agrees with this statement. going on to say that many blacks are poor, therefore, it is the system that is racist. This effects the outcome of the book due to the fact that many people who were executed were poor, and could have been saved if they had been able to afford a proper lawyer.