Insights from “Just Mercy”: Navigating Injustice and Discovering Humanity
“Just Mercy”: A Glimpse into Injustice
Just Mercy is a story written by Bryan Stevenson from a personal experience where he speaks more about justice, mercy, and empathy. In the entire story, he claims that the rate of injustices has increased and that people are being sentenced to death and life imprisonment for wrongly accused crimes.
The writer goes ahead to state that every individual, or rather every society, must be able to always pick empathy and mercy over blames and castigation or rather punishment. Bryan was born to an impoverished black family, and thus he witnessed a lot of things in the society and community that, in his way of viewing, they were wrongly done. In his line of duty or even outside it, Stevenson worked tirelessly to help the marginalized people in the community. He says that the justice system for criminals is very unfair, and he works towards improving it and helping those who may have fallen into the hands of the system unfairly.
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Bryan’s Journey of Offering Aid
According to his story, the writer has helped juveniles, low-income women, and also men who he feels were accused wrongly. It is after so doing that he feels it has changed his way of understanding some aspects and virtues in life like mercy, hope, kindness, and most of all and much significant the issue of justice. The writer points out different scenarios or rather cases that he had to intervene to help those involved. He goes ahead to quote that the poor people and minorities are the most affected in society by the corrupt, unfair, and injustice systems.
Chapter Insights: “Uncried Tears” and Trina’s Story
In chapter 8 of Just Mercy, Bryan begins with a poem called “Uncried Tears,” which is written by one of the inmates he encountered. The poem talks about a fight between suppressed tears and bitter conscience where the tears are even begging to be let free, but the conscience is quick to answer that if they are let free, then they will end up dead. In the same chapter, the author talks about a young person by the name of Trina, who was raised in a family that knew no justice and rights. Trina’s father is said to have been abusing his wife physically by beating her and even his children, and this led to Trina’s psychiatric problems.
When her mum died, she could not afford psychiatric services, and thus her condition worsened. One thing led to another, and she found herself in court, and no one dared produce a letter to indicate the little girl had some mental illness, and thus, she was charged with murder. What surprises me most is that she was not sent to juvenile but was held in the women’s prison, where she got raped by the guard, leaving her pregnant. Her cry had no one to listen to it, and thus the guard was just chased away, but Trina got no justice as not even a single compensation was given to her. The theme of male violence is strongly brought out by the author of Trina’s story and also shows the issue of poverty and vulnerability without any protection and assistance from justice.
Themes of Poverty and Racial Inequalities in Justice
Stevenson clearly states that when children are homeless and affected by poverty, then they are at risk of committing various juvenile crimes, as these three things are related or somewhat connected as he tells us. The theme of poverty is also brought out when the selected or appointed lawyer for Trina is not able to protect her by even providing the relevant letter from the hospital (Hanink 24). This shows a lack of enough resources to even hire or acquire qualified counsel.
In the past, youths were not easily accused of crimes except black youths. In a story told by the author about George, a 14-year-old boy who was accused of murder. He was charged after informing the locals who were searching for two white girls that he had seen them picking flowers, and they were found dead. In the court of law where no black man was allowed in, the sheriff said that George was the last one to see the two girls and that he had confessed to the murder and therefore charged with it.
This story shows the issue of racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. Bryan says that George’s story clearly illustrates how vulnerable black people are in the hands of whites. This man was accused because of his willingness to help, his honesty, and probably the fact that he was a black person.
In his stories, Bryan Stevenson shows how the legal criminal justice systems, which are supposed to be helping the people in America, be at the forefront in offering justice and be able to act fairly and offer required justice, have been used to extremely oppress the marginalized people in the societies. The author tries to analyze many of his various clients’ cases to show the problems, weaknesses, and failures in the criminal justice system. He thinks that every individual has a part to play in making the system right as it is directly reflected in the values and society as a whole.
- Stevenson, B. (2014). Just Mercy. Spiegel & Grau.