Study Guide

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison Justice and Judgment

By Shaka Senghor

Justice and Judgment

What does it mean to be just? Is justice about how a whole system works, or about how an individual lives? Or something in between?

In Writing My Wrongs, Shaka gives us an up close view of the American justice system and tries to answer those questions through his own experience. Writing My Wrongs is interested in the system: it raises the question about how just American society and the American justice system are.

But it also addresses Shaka's individual responsibility to become a person who lives out justice rather than fear or anger.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. What is the relationship between an individual and society when it comes to achieving justice, in Shaka's opinion? How much of the responsibility to work for it is individual, and how much is communal?
  2. Is the American legal and prison system as Shaka experiences it just? Or is it trying to dispense justice in a way that is sometimes pretty flawed?
  3. In Shaka's book, does he see justice as mainly a matter of avoiding crime or other damaging behavior? Or does he have a positive vision of what a just society could look like?

Chew on This

Shaka's experience suggests that the American justice system has a long way to go before it is itself just.

Shaka sees both individuals and whole communities as responsible for seeking justice.

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