Book Review: Bending toward justice: The Birmingham church bombing that changed the course of civil rights

AuthorDavid E. Barlow
Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
common inside the prisons. However, the prisoners also express some of their fears and challenges
they will face once they are released. A poignant point made by one of the participants discusses how
he will have to learn to interact with others who are not part of the prison environment. Others dis-
cussed the challenges of avoiding the bad inf‌luences they were around before going to prison and
trying to renew family relationships that may have been damaged as a result of the participants
crime and subsequent incarceration.
Other issues presented in these chapters include securing a stable home environment, reestablish-
ment of family relationships not only as a means of material support but also as a source of social
identity and a form of informal social control. The role of neighborhood context as it relates to
reentry is also explored. Often, these individuals being released from prison return to neighborhoods
that provide ample opportunities for crime and drug use. The strategies used by individuals to try to
avoid a return to criminal behavior are discussed along with the challenges the participants faced. The
f‌inal issue presented involves the task of the offenders securing employment. With the stigmatization
of a criminal record, little education, weak job skills, parole requirements, and transportation diff‌i-
culties, this can be an extremely daunting task for the recently released offenders.
The conclusion of the book brings together the issues discussed in the heart of the book. The
authors then make some connections to theoretical paradigms in criminology to try to explain
why some offenders do not renter society successfully. Policy recommendations are then presented
which the authors argue would help make the transition back to the free world a smoother and more
successful process for those leaving prison. Some of these recommendations seem to already be in
place, such as incarcerating fewer people and better preparing prisoners while they are still in prison
to meet the challenges they will face when released.
Overall, the book provides a timely and useful examination of the primary issues facing prisoners
when they are released from prison. Considering that the most currently incarcerated offenders will
eventually be released, the reentry paradigm will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future.
The personal casestudies provide a unique insight intothese issues and demonstrate how theobstacles
vary from person toperson as well as the resources needed tobe successful in reentry. The book could
use more incorporation of the quantitative data available. Plenty is presented from the qualitative inter-
views. Additional presentation of quantitative data could be used to better explain some of the issues
and would appeal to those correctional scholars who value the inclusion of quantitative support and
explanations. A f‌inal shortcoming of the book is the almost exclusive reliance on a sociological per-
spective in addressing the issues presented as well as fashioning recommendations to address the
issues. The addition of other perspectives, such as psychology and biology, would add to the discus-
sion, especially when connecting theoretical paradigms to reentry successes and failures.
Ken Balusek
Jones, D. (2019). Bending toward justice: The Birmingham church bombing that changed the course of civil rights.
New York, NY: St. Martins Press. 363 pp. $29.99. ISBN 9781250201447.
Reviewed by: David E. Barlow ,Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819863092
Senator Doug Jones may best be known for his defeat of Roy Moore in the 2017 special election held
in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions after he became U.S. Attorney General. In the book, Bending
134 Criminal Justice Review 48(1)

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