My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption

Pantheon. May 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781524748524. $25.95. SOC SCI
The literature on Black people in the U.S. prison system has often focused on the incarceration of adults and ignored the thousands of children who are housed in adult jails. In his memoir, Manuel, who is Black, provides a firsthand look at how the nation treats these children. In 1991, a 14-year-old Manuel was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for shooting a young woman during a robbery. His trial came in an era when politicians were promoting the superpredator theory, which predicted a rise in crime and violence from Black youth. Manuel spent his next 25 years in the Florida prison system, 18 of them in solitary confinement. The Equal Justice Initiative appealed his case and secured his release from prison in 2016. Manuel’s book argues that the U.S. legal system is a weapon used against Black youth. It is also the story of a man who came of age behind bars and found refuge in reading and writing poetry.
VERDICT Manuel provides a firsthand account of the U.S. prison system’s inhumanity for minors, and he writes a compelling call for change. A raw look at the intersection of the U.S. legal system, racism, and trauma.
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