Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair Hardcover – March 5, 2019
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
More items to explore
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”
—Michelle Alexander, New York Times columnist and author of The New Jim Crow
—New York Law Journal
—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.”
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Municipalities spend more on policing and prisons than almost anything else. In some cities—like Oakland or Chicago—policing, prisons, and other criminal system expenditures comprise a majority of municipal spending. Until We Reckon illustrates why that is a policy choice that does a disservice to everyone—including, crucially, survivors of violence.
The US is at a moment of increasingly mainstream recognition that the criminal punishment system is too large, too unwieldy, too disproportionately punitive to too many. The problem is that the mainstream response to this problem is to advocate decarceration for "non-violent drug offenders," trimming the edges through reform of draconian absurdities like Three Strikes Laws, etc. That's not enough. Most people incarcerated for significant periods are convicted of a "violent" crime. And the perceived necessity of prisons (for safety through incapacitation, etc.) is cemented by the fear of violence.
Enter Danielle's book. This book brings incredible insight to the question of what causes violence and how to deal with the harm caused by violence in a way that works for survivors (through e.g. allowing them to respond appropriately to trauma) and responsible parties (through e.g. encouraging them to be accountable by taking responsibility, repairing the harm as much as possible, and repairing themselves so they don't commit that type of harm again). Through working with hundreds and survivors (and loads of secondary research; the endnotes alone are worth the price of admission), Danielle has developed a nuanced picture of what survivors want and need after violence. You'll be surprised to learn that 90% of survivors of violence, when asked whether they support the person who committed violence against them going through Danielle's program (Common Justice) in lieu of incarceration, agree to the non-carceral option. And after reading Until We Reckon, you'll understand why.
As Danielle convincingly demonstrates, incarceration does not hold people accountable because the act of being incarcerated does not require one to take responsibility or make repair. The process of incarceration (including prosecution) does not account for nor respond to survivors' needs. One striking statistic is that 100% of survivors of violence who participated in this program listed as among their desires that the person who harmed them not harm others in a similar fashion in the future. Turns out, prison is "criminogenic": that is, incarceration increases the likelihood of future criminal activity. Danielle argues, persuasively, that the reason for this is that prison operates through the same things that drive crime in the first place: isolation, shame, deprivation of resources, etc.
A key animating insight is understanding violence as relational. The vast majority of violence takes places in the context of (often broken) relationships. Foregrounding this aspect of violence helps a reader understand why the logical response is to repair the relationship. (And in the minority of cases of stranger violence, the act of violence creates a relationship, which entails a need for repair). The point is that an act violence creates an obligation on the part of the responsible party to the person harmed. Common Justice's program is designed to help the responsible party honor that obligation, to give the survivor agency in determining how that obligation is fulfilled, and to help the responsible party transform in the process so that the harm is not repeated.
Crucially, this is not about leniency, mercy, or being "softer." This book argues for reframing our understanding of violence—and the individual and collective responsibilities it entails.
Look, I never write Amazon reviews because capitalism sucks but I feel REALLY strongly about this book so go read it!!!! (Preferably in your local library; call your librarian and ask them to stock it).
America appears ready to fix its mass incarceration problem, yet the solutions on the table are simply insufficient. De-criminalizing drug addiction and releasing non-violent drug offenders—while necessary and long overdue—simply will not reach enough prisoners to undo mass incarceration (as established recently in John Pfaff's "Locked In"). We must find a way to rehabilitate and release *violent adult offenders*--the politically-untouchable group that fills the vast majority of prison cells. Restorative justice, as practiced by Danielle Sered and "Common Justice", simultaneously achieves the goals of criminal punishment (deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, restoration), reduces recidivism, cuts costs, and empties prison cells when applied to violent adult offenders. This book shows it is possible.