A powerful argument for adopting a model of restorative justice in wrongful conviction cases as part of legislative efforts towards criminal justice reform and community healing.
Lara Bazelon is a writer, attorney and director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She is former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent and worked as a public defender in Los Angeles for seven years. Bazelon's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, the Houston Chronicle, and Slate, where she is a contributing editor and has a long-running series about wrongful conviction cases. Bazelon is recipient of a writer-in-residency award from the MacDowell Colony in 2016 and from Mesa Refuge in 2017, where she was named a Langeloth Fellow for excellence in writing about issues relating to criminal justice. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.
"Lara Bazelon's groundbreaking book Rectify: The Power of
Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction is a searing
indictment of the criminal justice system's penchant for flawed
practices, depraved indifference toward offenders and wanton abuses
--Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
"Rectify takes perhaps the first fair and balanced look
at the unique and devastating harm that wrongful convictions
inflict. From the original victims and the innocent men and women
to our families and wider communities, Lara Bazelon's
groundbreaking work demonstrates that by collectively showing up
and bearing witness to each other's trauma, we can unpack our
grief, restore our voices, and become strong and powerful wounded
--Jennifer Thompson, coauthor of Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption and founder of Healing Justice "Lara Bazelon is a personal hero of mine. She fearlessly tackles treacherous legal issues with her brain and her pen, and the results are profound. In Rectify, she shines a light on the 'second punishment' that follows exoneration: the stigmas and obstacles that former prisoners and crime victims face even though they've already paid a terrible price. I highly recommend this book."
--Jason Flom, CEO of Lava Records and host of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom "Almost always, discussions of restorative justice consider only its role in mending the lives of victims, offenders, and the community when guilt is clear and accepted. But, to paraphrase a senior legislator this vital book quotes, in courts it is not only justice that we do; it is injustice too. Now Lara Bazelon focuses her remarkable ability to tell stories on that overlooked rip in the fabric: the cases in which the convict is innocent, in which the person in prison is not the offender at all. As she shows movingly and simply, the principles of restorative justice have an invaluable role in mending there too. Starting today, no examination of restorative justice will be adequate without considering what Lara Bazelon has added with Rectify."
--Dean Strang, defense lawyer in State of Wisconsin v. Steven Avery and author of Worse Than the Devil "The innocence movement transformed the way we think about the criminal justice system by exonerating thousands of wrongfully convicted men and women. Rectify asks what healing looks like, for them and for the crime victims whose lives have been upended. It is a story about restorative justice that is by turns tragic, inspiring, and triumphant."
--Barry Scheck, cofounder and director of the Innocence Project