Surviving Justice: 13 Exonerees Describe Their Ordeals

"Real, raw, terrifying tales of 'justice'". That's how John Freeman in the Minneapolis Star Tribune begins his review of the recently published Surviving Justice.

The 13 men and women featured in "Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated" were sent to prison for crimes they did not commit. Some languished for years on death row. Others were sentenced to life in prison. And yet they consider themselves fortunate. Thanks to their own calls for help and sheer dumb luck, the judicial system grudgingly admitted mistakes and set them free.

One by one, these interviews pinpoint lingering problems in our criminal justice system, from the inaccuracy of eyewitness accounts and polygraph tests to the need for better public defenders. Along with students from the University of California graduate school of journalism, editors Lola Vollen and Dave Eggers have written helpful guides to these issues. Their description of how snitches work is fascinating and eye-opening, and their brief description of the rape epidemic in prisons is frightening.

From the Amazon Book Review:

After spending years behind bars, hundreds of men and women with incontrovertible proof of their innocence have been released from America’s prisons. They were wrongfully convicted because of problems that plague many criminal proceedings—inept defense lawyers, overzealous prosecutors, deceitful interrogation tactics, misidentifications, and more. Finally free, usually after more than a decade of incarceration, the wrongly condemned re-enter society with nothing but scars from prison life only to struggle for survival on the outside.

The thirteen men and women portrayed here, and the hundreds of others who have been exonerated, are the tip of the iceberg. By all estimates, there are thousands of innocent victims in prison today. Surviving Justice tells their unimaginable and inspiring stories.

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