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A large portion of this book deals with the cases of poor black children sentenced to adult prisons and serving life sentences. Stevenson tells these stories very convincingly and sympathetically. He challenges their sentences because he says they are juveniles and his firm recognized “the incongruity of not allowing children to smoke, drink, drive … because of their lack of maturity and judgement while simultaneously treating some of the most at-risk, neglected, and impaired children exactly the same as full-grown adults in the criminal justice system.” Circumstances that would bring a youth to be put in a situation where he felt his only option was to kill someone because he is not aware of his other options, should be recognized upon sentencing. One example is a young boy who shoots his mother’s abuser. Yes, punishment needs to occur, but placing a young child in an adult prison is not always appropriate justice. Stevenson also defends many poor white women who have been convicted of the murder of their spouse or stillborn child. He tells the stories of pregnant women who are too poor to see a doctor or go to the hospital, and then unfortunately during labor deliver a stillborn child. These women are then arrested and charged with capital murder which is punishable by the death penalty.


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