SBCC Reads 2016: Just Mercy

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
    Just Mercy Cover

    Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Spiegel & Grau, 2014.

    Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

    Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.

    Just Mercy has received numerous honors, including the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction, and the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Nonfiction. Time magazine named the book one of the Top 10 nonfiction titles of 2014. Actor Michael B. Jordan will star in a film adaptation of the memoir.

    Watch: We Need to Talk about an Injustice TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson:

    February 3rd: Free Book Giveaway

    Come collect your FREE copy of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption! Luria Library will be giving out free copies of the book to interested students on February 3rd starting at 9:00am. Once you’re finished, pass the book along to another reader! Luria Library will have a collection basket to help you share the SBCC Reads experience.

    Speaker: Aba Gayle from the Catherine Blount Foundation

    Join us on Thursday, April 7th to listen to Aba Gayle from the Catherine Blount Foundation speak to SBCC community about forgiveness, criminal justice reform, and her work with prisoners.

    Location: A160

    Date/Time: April 7th, 4:00 – 5:00pm

    Hosted by SBCC Luria Library & SBCC Extended Opportunity Programs and Services EOPS

    Panel Discussion

    Come hear a variety of perspectives on the prison experience and criminal justice reform programs, from experts in the field including formerly incarcerated current SBCC students.

    Location: A160

    Date/Time: April 21 4-5pm

    Hosted by SBCC Luria Library & SBCC Extended Opportunity Programs and Services EOPS

    Panelists will include

    Community Events:

    • Author Talk: April 18th – The author will speak at UCSB on April 18, 2016. The lecture will be held in Campbell Hall.
    • Check the UCSB Reads 2015 Events Page for a complete schedule of events for the UCSB Reads program.
    • Check for activities and community conversations sponsored by the Santa Barbara Public Library on their events page.
    • Check for activities and community conversations sponsored by the Westmont College Library on their event page

    Books to read

    Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

    Thinking About Crime Cover

    Invisible Men Cover

    Politics of Imprisonment Cover

    Punishing Race Cover

    About Incarceration




    Punishment Imperative Cover


    • Dan Pacholke: How prisons can help inmates live meaningful lives “In the United States, the agencies that govern prisons are often called ‘Department of Corrections.’ And yet, their focus is on containing and controlling inmates. Dan Pacholke, Deputy Secretary for the Washington State Department of Corrections, shares a different vision: of prisons that provide humane living conditions as well as opportunities for meaningful work and learning.”
    • The Bureau of Justice Statistics
      The mission of the BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.
    • California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, Strategic & Performance Planning
      COMPSTAT is based on a concept of statistical analysis of operational performance, continuous review, and direct dialogue between CDCR’s executive management and program managers.
    • United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems
      The major goal of the United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems is to collect data on the incidence of reported crime and the operations of criminal justice systems with a view to improving the analysis and dissemination of that information globally.
    • Freedom to Choose Foundation
      The mission of the Freedom to Choose Foundation is to inspire, empower, and engage people in life-changing education leading to responsible choices, enhanced self-esteem, forgiveness of self and others, conflict prevention, and respect for all.

    SBCC Reads

    In collaboration with UCSB Reads and Westmont Reads, Santa Barbara City College’s Luria Library will be hosting a number of events and activities to explore the issues raised as we read

    Purposes of SBCC Reads are to:

    • Explore interdisciplinary issues sparked by the selected book through conversations, readings, displays, and other activities. Free copies of the book will distributed to interested students; faculty members are encouraged to use the book in class curricula.
    • Generate informed discussion of key issues by promoting the reading and discussion of books on the broad themes in the book.
    • Focus on academic disciplines at SBCC which provide us with a broader understanding of the issues raised in the book.
    • Create further campus appreciation of the library and the role it plays in education and research.
    • Encourage the exchange of ideas with members of U.C. Santa Barbara, Westmont College, and other Santa Barbara community members.

    Previous SBCC Reads Titles: