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The Exonerated Book Review College Sample paper


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Book Review- The Exonerated


Issues affiliated with correctional systems and activities have been addressed from a scholarly perspective especially because there are many past and contemporary trends that emerge in the systems. Arguably, some of the scholarly tools used expedite these issues from a fictional, non-fictional and even classic approaches. Issues such as incarcerations have an array of issues associated with them. As such, books and other forms of literature have been used to escalate the level of understanding of what the corrections are about and the issues that are taking place in the systems. In an attempt to select the preferred book, a criterion for choosing the most pressing issues in the context of justice has been used. The book, “The Exonerated” By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen is subject to critical review in this paper. It is one outstanding scholarly piece of work in the context of the corrections systems that addressed real time issues and used a very rational approach to correct and exemplify the findings to the audience. As such, the Book “The Exonerated” is a relevant piece of literature that effectively demonstrates the issues surrounding incarceration and the impacts of facing.

Book Overview

The book is developed as a documented play. It focuses on an interview conducted on sixty people who were facing incarceration who had faced between two to twenty-two years for a death row (Blank & Jensen, 2004). The authors incorporated six of the cumulative interviews with the testimonies provided by the personal correspondence, court testimony, and the police interrogation. The combination of the interviews was collected and blended to establish a strong indictment against the criminal justice, as well as, the capital punishment.

The narrative analyzes a series of the arrests and the ultimate exoneration, as well as, the release of five male and one female inmate. Amongst these incarceration victims, three of them were African Americans, and the rest were Caucasians (Blank & Jensen, 2004). The cases facing them comprised coercion of these suspects to record misleading statements and also representations. That was orchestrated by the attorneys who did not consider the relevant evidence in the case. Further, the book provides an overview of the prison life as one traitorous experience. For instance, inmates are assaulted by other inmates and even sexually assaulted. Further, they are subjected to horrific experiences even by the authorities (Blank & Jensen, 2004). As such, the book explains the manner through which individuals are convicted falsely of capital crimes and face incarceration. That forces them to discard their dreams at the expense of injustice.

Therefore, the book focuses on scripting down the interviews with inmates who are believed to have faced conviction yet they were innocent. It conducts an all-inclusive documentation of the facts and the experiences surrounding the cases of the chosen respondents of the interview. Ultimately, it shows the impact of the incarceration to the inmates’ souls (Blank & Jensen, 2004). Thus, it shows how hard it is for these inmates to go back to the society after the torturous experience. Therefore, the book provides a phenomenological account of what inmates go through due to inappropriate incarcerations.

Themes and Ideas Presented In the Books

The book focuses on the theme of justice. It focuses on the discrepancies surrounding the judicial system. Particularly, the book exemplifies the extent in which racial profiling is influencing the directions of the decisions made in courts leading to inappropriate incarcerations. Particularly, in a bid to bring and demonstrate the extent in which justice is denied to most people, the book uses a qualitative research approach to conducting an interview on the sixty inmates. The book focuses on the exonerated inmates who are mainly African-Americans and the Caucasians (Blank & Jensen, 2004). From a deeper perspective, the research utilizes the outcomes of the phenomenological interactions with the interviewees to establish what their perception is regarding the life in prison especially when they are fully aware that they were not guilty.

The authors develop it in a form of play to ensure that the theme is well developed and can also be presented to the audience in the form of play. It is expected to be a 90 minutes play. Each participant in the play has a story to tell regarding their experience in the prisons (Blank & Jensen, 2004). The exonerated is more of an experience sharing scenario than a narrative. The entirety of the book comprises of real life stories of people accused of murder. The fact that these particular people give their opinion makes the book a reliable scholarly material especially when one is learning contemporary issues associated with correctional systems. Usually, the findings recorded in such a book are likely to influence a change in the justice system especially if the issues raised exist.

Strengths and Weaknesses


First, the fact that the book uses a qualitative research design makes the book’s content reliable. Scholarly material that uses real life examples gathered from exercises such as interviews can be used to make valid conclusions regarding particular matters such as those pertaining justice (Blank & Jensen, 2004). For instance, the inmates who are interviewed give an account of what they experienced in the correctional facilities or prisons.  The book reflects on a very reliable account of how some Individuals are exonerated after their sentences are nullified. Therefore, the content of the book may act as a spotlight regarding the miscarriages of justice.  


Despite the fact that the book focuses on too much of reality than fiction, there are several weaknesses associated with the overall development of book’s content. First, the book overlies on the use of perceptions and response used by the exonerated individuals to compile much of the books content. There lies the risk of biased information. All the files and reports used to justify the deficiency of the justice departments may be exasperated with ambiguous claims. Further, the fact that the book is developed in the form of play is likely to raise an alarm and even lead to unwanted anomalies.  


Accordingly, the book emerges to be a very relevant scholarly material especially in the context of correctional systems. Particularly, it focuses on a very relevant matter and theme of justice. Further, the fact that it uses a phenomenological approach to gathering the findings that comprise the book makes it a reliable reference of facts regarding the occurrences in the justice system. However, there lies the risk of biased information of raising an unnecessary alarm if showed to the wrong audience. If the book is used for scholarly purposes, the book can serve a very detrimental role since learners understand concepts when a real life situation exemplifies them.  


Blank, J., & Jensen, E. (2004). The exonerated: A play. Dramatists Play Service Inc.