Friday, August 22, 2014

The Humanity of Justice

This is a wonderful and informative look into the justice system from the inside. Mr. Strunksy is a senior deputy district attorney who specializes in homicide cases and crimes against children, some of which have been featured on national television. Mr. Strunksy expertly weaves some of the cases he has prosecuted throughout the book as real world examples of how the justice system is set up to work and why and how that looks and plays out in real life.

I really enjoy crime shows on TV, like CSI, Law and Order etc and one of my guilty pleasures is the show Snapped.  I, like most people are very curious about why people do the terrible things they do.

Real life is often incredibly painful and traumatic and a real crime is not always wrapped up as neatly as one on TV. Some of the stories of cases in the book are very difficult to read. I had to pause multiple times while reading about a few cases because it was just too hard to continue and almost too hard to wrap my head around the heinous things human beings are capable of doing. The stories in the book however unsettling are important for their role in demonstrating the various aspects of the legal system. The stories also serve another, more critical purpose. They remind of most certainly of the evils in the world but they also remind us of the victims. The stories give the victims a name and a face, they introduce us to the human beings whose lives are forever altered and sometimes ended, far too often by the hands of those they trust to protect them. These stories also demonstrate the passion, compassion and tireless effort those who prosecute put in to ensure the offender is held accountable and to provide a sense of closure and justice for the family and loved ones of the victims.

The book did a wonderful job explaining concepts that I thought I knew and understood and made them much clearer, specifically how the legal system was formed and why, the reasoning for and importance of trials by jury and the critical role they play in the process. The power of words, their use, voice modulation and body language is also discussed and the power they wield is a very important point.

The thing that stood out to me most was the discussion on revenge and the desire for justice. Neuroscientists have discovered the desire for revenge is actually hard wired into our brains and interestingly is located in the same region that controls our appetite, and when we imagine enacting revenge on someone who has done us wrong our brain waves fire in the exact way that they do when we are craving our favorite foods! There is a quote that states “ A cry for Justice is always a cry for Revenge” and when one stops to ponder that statement? It is absolutely true.

I very much enjoyed the book and think that those interested in the workings of the criminal justice system would also enjoy this book. It is clear that Mr. Strunsky has many years of experience but more importantly he is able to explain the system in a way that makes it easy to understand and relate to. Very early into the book you feel the passion that he has for his job and his commitment to the victims that he works with, the fact that 100% of the proceeds of the book will be donated to The Humanity of Justice Foundation (a nonprofit organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect) speaks volumes. I am left feeling better educated, a bit sad but incredibly thankful for the men and women who dedicate their lives shining their light into some very dark places.

Interested?  Check it out here and happy reading!