Analysis Of Criminological Theories In Just Mercy By Bryan Stevenson

analytical Essay
2281 words
2281 words

The novel, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson is an incredible read. In this book, Mr. Stevenson discusses his journey as an attorney for the condemned on death row. He speaks of many of the cases he has taken on, and the people he has represented. One story he focuses on in particular is his case representing Walter McMillian. This man was condemned to death row before he was even convicted of the crime! Mr. Stevenson spends so much time advocating for Walter’s innocence, until one day he is finally released from death row. Mr. Stevenson’s book exposes many of the problems that face the Criminal Justice system, as well as reveals several criminological theories that have been developed. Throughout the stories told in the book, Mr. Stevenson creates …show more content…

15). This is the most prime example of the “labeling theory”. In criminology, the labeling theory is essentially the “dramatization of evil” in which the subject is singled out from his peers and treated as a criminal. This theory also states that people who have been labeled such names, also contributes to their future criminal behavior, they commit the crime because they have been associated by name with it. This presents a problem because the people who have been labeled with such names are prevented from being able to re­assimilate within society, they are the outcasts. It also can potentially hinder their growth as an individual. If they are constantly hearing the negative names, they will begin to believe those things about themselves, thus preventing them from moving on from that part of their life, and also can coerce them into re­offending. Throughout the novel, Mr. Stevenson continuously refers back to the first death penalty case he worked on, Walter McMillian. McMillian’s case is the best example of the …show more content…

This is because the people of his hometown were truly convinced the McMillian was a very dangerous man and was guilty of the murder, and who knows what else. Upon Walter’s release and his move back into his hometown, all the momentum gained from his release, quickly began to fade. He ended up needing to be provided with consistent care and supervision. Most places refused to take him because he was convicted of a felony, even though he was wrongfully convicted and has been exonerated. At one point, Mr. Stevenson wrote of a conversation he had with a nurse who had been taking care of Walter at the hospital he was staying at. She told him that one of the other nurses had looked Walter up because he repeatedly talked of death row. The nurse had told her that “someone like that is not supposed to be here....a lot of people think once you go to prison, whether you belong there or not, you become a dangerous person, and they don’t want to have nothing to do with you” (Stevenson p. 280). Walter McMillian ended up passing away on September 11, 2013. Could it have been from his health complications?

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that if people are just going to prison for any and every little crime, where are they going?
  • Opines that he is working to reform prisons that should not be there or who have been unjustly sent there.
  • Explains that stevenson states that the u.s. has been the only country in the united states.
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