Just Mercy
2017 Stowe Prize Winner, Bryan Stevenson for Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. He has won reversals, relief, or release for over 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has also received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

Under his leadership, the Equal Justice Initiative 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. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court, including an historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional.

Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation. He is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

About Just Mercy

Just Mercy is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem, and a clarion call to fix a broken system of justice from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a civil rights law practice dedicated to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. One of his first cases was Walter McMillian, a man convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman in Monroeville, Alabama, despite the state’s lack of tangible evidence. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship, and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.