1. Agreed. Also I started this on audio on Scribd, but I ended up having to get a paper copy from my library because there was just so much information and I knew I wanted to take notes (which is hard to do while listening to an audiobook while driving). I’ll have to get my own copy of it sometime soon.


  1. I bought this over the weekend – it`s my book club`s pick. I ended up reading the first page and was struck by how readable and personal it is. Sounds like it`s going to be a difficult read so I might need to hold off a couple of weeks – I did just finish Missoula.


  2. First — THANK YOU for joining us and participating in this! Really hoping #SJBC can be an ongoing thing (I’m thinking every other month to let folks have downtime between books, and give time for holds to come in from the library, etc. etc.).

    I really like your points about this not being a book that will change someone’s mind from pro-death penalty to anti, but that it can at least highlight the issues with our current criminal justice system for those who don’t recognize systemic injustices in our country. I know big headlines have done a bit of that lately, but I worry that those big, fear-inducing headlines about RIOTS and PROTESTS and DISRUPTIONS TO THE DAILY LIFE don’t get at the nuance of the argument about what people are protesting in the first place or where their anger comes from.

    Ok, enough from me (for now!). I’m still in Chapter 2 so have some catching up to do!


    1. I totally agree – Those headlines I think completely miss the point. So on one hand, attention is finally being given to some of these huge issues like mass incarceration and how it’s affecting poor and POC communities, which is great. But you’re right, the headlines that blare “RIOTS” don’t go into the detail that is SO important. I had a conversation with a co-worker last year about the Baltimore protests and riots after Freddie Gray was murdered and he just kept saying “They’re acting like idiots” and “There’s no excuse for that” – COMPLETELY not acknowledging the context (he knew no details about how Freddie Gray ended up dead) and the long history leading up to things like that.

      Anyways, aggh. Looking forward to whatever the next #SJBC read ends up being!


  3. I came at this book in pretty much the same way as you. Already against capital punishment and etc. The biggest thing that changed in me after reading it was how pretty much all punishments that I read about now seem too harsh, even if the person really is guilty. And also how FAR we still have to go to improve the prison system.

    I used to volunteer at a juvie, and many of the kids in there were there because they were being protected from something else. Like okay, so now this kid has a rap sheet (though it is sealed is beside the point) because the best resources available to them are inside a center designed for punishment? Expanded to an adult level, we put people in prison oftentimes because we don’t know what else to do with them. “Better there than on the streets” mentality. I know this is a little off topic from the book, but it made me think.


    1. “The biggest thing that changed in me after reading it was how pretty much all punishments that I read about now seem too harsh, even if the person really is guilty.”

      I’ve been experiencing the same thing over the last year or so – even if someone DID sell drugs or DID steal something, the punishments just seem so excessive and counter-productive. Sending someone to jail for these long stretches of time with no rehabilitation and no chance to change once they’re released because employers are still allowed to discriminate against anyone with a criminal record – what good does that do? None.

      That’s great that you volunteered at a juvenile facility! But I can imagine how absolutely frustrating that must have been – those kids in there just because it was “better” than whatever they had to face at home or out in the world… that’s horrible.


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