Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence, and Identity

Alison Flowers. Haymarket (Consortium, dist.), $22.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-60846-675-7
Flowers, an investigative reporter based in Chicago, offers four vivid, in-depth ethnographic portraits of exonerated prisoners, three of who are from Cook County, Ill.—an area known for its exceedingly high rate of wrongful convictions. Flowers profiles a single mother wrongly convicted of the accidental death of her three-year-old in a trailer fire, a gang member mistakenly picked out of a lineup for a murder charge, a 22-year-old handyman incarcerated on fabricated evidence for arson in a fire where six people perished, and a musician and homemaker set up on a murder charge. She also introduces a Chicago detective with “a city-wide reputation for manipulating lineups and coercing witnesses,” a corrupt police chief who was later incarcerated for lying about police torture, and, on the other side, the lawyers and organizations that work tirelessly to overturn wrongful convictions, such as Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago. All four exonerees each spent at least a decade in prison, and Flowers highlights how little it took to erroneously convict them as well as the struggle to overcome the stigma of having been in prison as they try to find employment and housing. Through these searing portraits, readers will witness the fissures in the criminal justice system and the damage they cause to the wrongfully convicted, their families, and their communities. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-60846-587-3
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-60846-653-5
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