Bending the Arc: My Journey from Prison to Politics

Seal. Nov. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781541646308. $28. MEMOIR
“Achieving real justice requires applying constant pressure,” writes Haynes (campaign strategist, the Sentencing Project) in her exceptionally informative memoir. At 19, Haynes was arrested after signing for packages that, unbeknownst to her, contained marijuana. Faced with mandatory minimum sentencing laws and an unforgiving judge, Haynes was sentenced to federal prison. While incarcerated, she worked toward her dream of a career in law, assisted her lawyer with the appeal of her case, and helped other incarcerated people navigate legal hurdles. After her release, she graduated from law school and became a public defender, which she says was motivated by her desire to give people impacted by the penal system a better experience than her own. Wanting to make a greater impact at the policy level, Haynes became legal counsel for a non-profit and later ran a grassroots campaign for Congress. In this memoir, she excels at drawing clear comparisons between her own experiences and the widespread inequities of criminal law, especially for Black and brown people.
VERDICT Readers interested in law and systemic racism will come away with greater insight from this highly recommended book. Haynes’s perseverance, compassion, and relatability create a memoir that will stick with readers long after the last page.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing