From policing to prisons, to the court systems – in many countries people feel that their justice systems perpetuate more injustice than they address. Writers, through novels, portray the complex impact of legalized injustice. Read these 7 novels that question the justice system.
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Coates recapitulates a U.S.history of violence against Black people and the incommensurate policing of Black youth.
2. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Based in post-war Germany, a young law student watches his lover on trial for a hideous crime.
3. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith
The author describes his own experience coming of age as a Black man in the U.S, while witnessing the deaths of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, and too many more.
4. The Butterfly Prison by Tamara Pearson
- via amazon.com
In Australia, the police harass Aboriginals, Muslims, and the poor. In this case, they take it too far, and one innocent man is sent to a prison that in many ways expresses society’s broader problems.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
An oldie but a goodie; this novel raises questions about good justice. To Kill a Mockingbird follows the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus, who is defending a young Black man accused of raping a white woman.
6. Perfidia by James Ellroy
A depiction of a Los Angeles police state: There is little law among these police who run the city with thuggery, racism, and misogyny – addicted to power, alcohol, or drugs.
7. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
A novel set on death row, narrated by a prisoner, about the prisoner in the cell next to him and an investigation that may result in a last minute reprieve from his sentence, The Enchanted humanizes the prisoners and deconstructs the prison system and the death penalty.
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