Just mercy

a story of justice and redemption

Hardcover, 336 pages

English language

Published Oct. 30, 2014 by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.

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5 stars (5 reviews)

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

19 editions

abolish prisons

5 stars

This book is as beautifully written as it is gutwrenchingly awful to read. The injustices described are horrible, but not surprising - the New Jim Crow at work. The author makes a powerful statement towards the end that we lock up people we can't bear to think about (and especially not to empathize with) because it's a mirror into the brokenness of us all. We think it's an easier solution, and in some ways it probably is easier than mercy. But we need more stonecatchers in this world.

Review of 'Just mercy' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

Read this on the suggestion of my wonderful partner. This is a gripping, beautiful, and frustrating read, in which I learned a lot more about how our criminal justice system is terrible. It's a tribute to the author's clients and the unknown prisoners who are like them, as well as the communities around them. It lacks a strong call to action - this is how you can help! - but I think that it's not really necessary in this book, and I don't think he has any "innovative solutions" to the problem of our justice system. What he emphasizes, though, is the power of kindness and "just mercy," and he also highlights some "lead bullet" (as opposed to silver bullet) things you can do to help out.

Review of 'Just mercy' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Just Mercy is an autobiography of Bryan Stevenson, a criminal justice lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative. As he explained it to Rosa Parks, the EJI is:

Well, I have a law project called the Equal Justice Initiative, and we’re trying to help people on death row. We’re trying to stop the death penalty, actually. We’re trying to do something about prison conditions and excessive punishment. We want to free people who’ve been wrongly convicted. We want to end unfair sentences in criminal cases and stop racial bias in criminal justice. We’re trying to help the poor and do something about indigent defense and the fact that people don’t get the legal help they need. We’re trying to help people who are mentally ill. We’re trying to stop them from putting children in adult jails and prisons. We’re trying to do something about poverty and the hopelessness that dominates …

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  • Administration of Criminal justice
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Lawyers
  • Social reformers
  • Legal assistance to the poor
  • Discrimination in criminal justice administration
  • Biography


  • United States