A searing exposé of the profound failures in our justice system, told by a woman who has journeyed from wrongfully accused prisoner to acclaimed public defender
Keeda Haynes was a Girl Scout and a churchgoer, but after college graduation, she was imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit. Her boyfriend had asked her to sign for some packages—packages she did not know were filled with marijuana. As a young Black woman falsely accused, prosecuted, and ultimately imprisoned, Haynes suffered the abuses of our racist and sexist justice system. But rather than give in to despair, she decided to fight for change. After her release, she attended law school at night, became a public defender, and ultimately staged a highly publicized campaign for Congress. At every turn of her unlikely story, she gives unique insights into the inequities built into our institutions. In the end, despite the injustice she endured, she emerges convinced that ours can become a true second-chance culture.
Keeda J. Haynes is a criminal justice reform advocate and a former Nashville public defender who works to bring to light the inequities in the criminal justice system. She currently serves as the Voting Rights Campaign Strategist with The Sentencing Project, and formerly served as the Legal Advisor to the non-profit organization Free Hearts. In 2020, she campaigned with hopes to become the first Black congresswoman to represent Tennessee. She lectures nationwide on her compelling story and cutting-edge issues in the criminal justice system. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.