In our criminal justice system today, there are an alarmingly high number of people who are convicted for crimes they did not commit. African American men are disproportionately among the falsely convicted.
This issue is addressed in depth in an upcoming BenBella title, Wrongfully Convicted, Rightfully Committed (Spring 2017). This harrowing true story is written by Herman Atkins, a man who himself was imprisoned for twelve years (ages 21-34) in some of California’s most notorious prisons for a crime he did not commit. Atkins was ultimately released due to DNA evidence and the efforts of The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to the support and successful re-integration of wrongfully incarcerated people into society as free citizens. Watch Herman Atkins speak to this important issue:
Atkins–due to help from The Innocence project and an undying work ethic and dedication to justice–has made an impressively successful life for himself post-release: he has secured associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and is in his second year of law school in San Diego, where he hopes to help those who have suffered his same fate at the hands of a failed criminal justice system. Atkins has worked tirelessly to make a better life for himself and to position himself as an advocate for those who have faced similar injustices, some of whom have not managed to re-integrate into society as successfully as Atkins himself.
I hope Wrongfully Convicted, Rightfully Committed makes an important contribution to the ongoing conversation on race and the justice system in this country.