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Through intimate portraits of four exonerated prisoners, journalist Alison Flowers explores what happens to innocent people when the state flings open the jailhouse door and tosses them back, empty-handed into the unknown. From the front lines of the wrongful conviction capital of the United States--Cook County, Ill.--these stories reveal serious gaps in the criminal justice system. Flowers depicts the collateral damage of wrongful convictions on families and communities, challenging the deeper problem of mass incarceration in the United States. As she tells each exoneree's powerful story, Flowers vividly shows that release from prison, though sometimes joyous and hopeful, is not a Hollywood ending--or an ending at all. Rather, an exoneree's first unshackled steps are the beginning of a new journey full of turmoil and triumph. Based on Chicago Public Media's yearlong multimedia series--a finalist for a national Online Journalism Award--this narrative piece of investigative journalism tells profoundly human stories of reclaiming one's life, overcoming adversity, and searching for purpose--at times with devastating consequences and courageous breakthroughs.
About the Author
Alison Flowers is an award-winning investigative journalist who focuses on social and criminal justice. Her yearlong multimedia series about exonerees for Chicago Public Media and NPR affiliate WBEZ was a finalist for a national Online Journalism Award in 2014. A former TV reporter, Flowers has also written for the Village Voice, VICE News, and others. She is a Social Justice News Nexus fellow and works at the Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago.