Interviews Movies

Tackling Prison Reform: An Interview with Just Mercy’s Bryan Stevenson

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If you’ve ever had the privilege to meet defense attorney Bryan Stevenson you would know you’re standing in front of a real-life superhero who saves the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults; winning reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.

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Based off the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, Stevenson’s life’s work is turned into a heartbreaking and inspirational movie. Set in Alabama, the Warner Bros drama follows the true story of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who is put on death row for murder despite evidence proving his innocence. Defense attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) travels to the Deep South in an effort to appeal McMillian’s murder conviction and, in turn, sees the birth of the Equal Justice Initiative, which gives legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted.

The Koalition spoke to Stevenson about the need for this powerful movie, the need for prison reform and how everyone can contribute to the cause.

Check out our interview below.

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