You should devote 2-3 paragraphs to each prompt, as well as introductory and concluding paragraphs for the essay as a whole. Your work should be in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and 4-5 pages long (2,000-2,500 words).
Introduction: Summarize the book and briefly highlight some major Constitutional issues raised.
Prompt 1: What are some specific examples of improper legal representation are profiled in Just Mercy? Why do you think sheriffs, lawyers, and other government officials proven guilty of misconduct are still on active duty? Provide a specific example from the text, and cite any relevant page numbers. What is a specific reform you believe should be made to the legal system? Explain your reasoning.
Prompt 2: Stevenson writes, “Executions are an example of how policies and norms are used to control and punish blacks.” Why are 80% of people on death row convicted of crimes against whites while 65% of homicide victims are black? Why is a death sentence more likely if a defendant is black and the victim is white? Provide evidence from the text, and be sure to cite the page numbers.
Conclusion: In the epilogue, Stevenson writes, “The real question of capital punishment in this country is, do we deserve to kill?” What was your opinion about capital punishment prior to reading this book? Did reading Just Mercy change your opinion about whether or not the United States has the right to execute its citizens? What other questions did this book raise about capital punishment?