Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair
--Michelle Alexander, New York Times columnist and author of The New Jim Crow
In the eloquent tradition of Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy, an award-winning leader in the movement to end mass incarceration takes on the vexing problem of violent crime
Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered's brilliant and groundbreaking Until We Reckon steers directly and unapologetically into the question of violence, offering approaches that will help end mass incarceration and increase safety.
Widely recognized as one of the leading proponents of a restorative approach to violent crime, Sered asks us to reconsider the purposes of incarceration and argues persuasively that the needs of survivors of violent crime are better met by asking people who commit violence to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends in ways that are meaningful to those they have hurt--none of which happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence.
Sered launched and directs Common Justice, one of the few organizations offering alternatives to incarceration for people who commit serious violent crime and which has produced immensely promising results.
Critically, Sered argues that the reckoning owed is not only on the part of those who have committed violence, but also by our nation's overreliance on incarceration to produce safety--at great cost to communities, survivors, racial equity, and the very fabric of our democracy.
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About the Author
Shortlisted for the 2019 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice
One of Mashable's "17 books every activist should read in 2019" Selected by Kirkus Reviews as "One of the Best Books of 2019 to Fight Racism and Xenophobia" "Profoundly necessary."
--Michelle Alexander, New York Times columnist and author of The New Jim Crow "A must-read for anyone who works in the criminal courts, the many who care about making our streets and communities safer and all those who espouse concern for the simple concept of justice."
--New York Law Journal "In her first book, the founder of Brooklyn-based Common Justice convincingly attacks the conventional wisdom about violent crimes, appropriate punishment, and how to repair the criminal (in)justice system. . . . The author provides clear, specific evidence for her contention that the new conventional wisdom must be survivor-centered, accountability-based, safety-driven, and racially equitable. The case studies of restorative justice that punctuate every chapter offer undeniable proof that Common Justice's tactics are succeeding and should be more widely applied. A top-notch entry into the burgeoning incarceration debate."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[Sered's] ideas, and her practical experience with the Brooklyn-based group Common Justice, struck me as both totally sensible and totally revolutionary."
--Tom Jackman, The Washington Post
"The work [Sered is doing] is truly impressive and innovative. . . . [It] encompasses two seemingly contradictory threads--one is diverting violent criminals from the prison system, and the other is helping victims heal. I found it completely, radically original and generally fascinating. . . . Truly remarkable work."
--Scott Stossel, The Atlantic
"Recently, a loose network of gun-crime victims, as well as men and women who've survived sexual assault, violent robberies, and other violations of the social contract . . . have emerged with an alternative policy vision. Among its many champions is Danielle Sered [who leads] pioneering efforts to provide community-based support to young men of color who've been harmed by violence . . . and those responsible for crimes."
--Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker
"Danielle Sered provocatively offers and backs up a vision that actually promotes real healing for crime survivors and improves community safety. A must-read for anyone who truly wants to dismantle mass incarceration."
--Nick Turner, president, Vera Institute of Justice
"A pioneer in restorative justice."
"Sered issue[s] a clarion call to take [violent crime] seriously and handle it with nuance. Sered reminds us that, if we're serious about reducing mass incarceration, we need to grapple seriously, and safely, with people who have committed violent offenses and the survivors of their crimes."