Author: Brittany K. Barnett
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Book Description: Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever—that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner, and, like Brittany, Black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America’s devastating war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn away from her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole—for a first-time drug offense. In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, both as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother and as the once-girlfriend of an abusive drug dealer. As she studied this case, a system came into focus: one where widespread racial injustice forms the core of America’s addiction to incarceration. Moved by Sharanda’s plight, Brittany set to work to gain her freedom.
This had never been the plan. Bright and ambitious, Brittany was a successful accountant on her way to a high-powered future in corporate law. But Sharanda’s case opened the door to a harrowing journey through the criminal justice system. By day she moved billion-dollar deals, and by night she worked pro bono to free clients in near-hopeless legal battles. Ultimately, her path transformed her understanding of injustice in the courts, of genius languishing behind bars, and the very definition of freedom itself.
Brittany’s riveting memoir is at once a coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist them both.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: This is one of the most important books written about the inequities of the legal system for drug offenses for black people. Brittany K. Barnett is a lawyer that has made it her mission to work with many people that have been given unjustified sentences and get clemency granted where she can.
Barnett grew up and witnessed a system that failed her and her family. Her mother sentenced to jail for drugs, Barnett changes her course in life to fight for the lives for men and woman that have been wrongly incarcerated for years and years for low level drug offenses, often times with no priors or even evidence.
We are given the facts of multiple cases from their trials, but what is even more enriching is the interaction Brittany has with her clients. Yes she is their lawyer, but also she becomes their advocates and their friend, many of whom work with her now as they have been released from prison.
Personally, as I heard these stories, I was sickened by our legal system. Yes, I know there are so many aspects that are broken, but when Barnett drills down to all the nuances, it becomes jaw-dropping that this is just wrong. Brittany K. Barnett is a force to reckon with, and anybody she works with, is lucky to have her as an ally.
I highly recommend this book for everyone to read. It is a difficult book to read, but so worth the journey.