Top positive review
An important read about how systems fail citizens
Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2020
The US has a racist problem with incarceration and this book showcases how a young misunderstood black Muslim boy can end up in jail for something he says he didn’t do.
A book written in verse (including poems written by Dr Salaam whilst he was in prison) we start off with the court case with the protagonist, Amal, reflecting on his life as we build up to how he got there. The second and third part covers his time in Juve and the system within.
Dr Yusuf Salaam is one of the Exonerated 5, and whilst inspired by his experience it is not about it. Amal is a teenager in modern times with social media and videos helping and hurting his cause.
This book highlighted the many ways in which systems fail black children from teachers, to lawyers and police, judges, media and then of course the correction system.
I’ve refused to watch When They See Us because I don’t know what I’ll do with that anger but this book highlighted many things that made me wonder if the people that failed the Exonerated 5 and countless other children feel remorse; have repented or better yet, been served Karma’s justice.
This is a must read. Not only in the US but any country with disproportionate amounts of people in prison and / or a privatized prison system which South Africa is considering.