From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: James Garbarino
Listening to killers: lessons learned from my 20 years as a psychological expert witness in murder cases by James Garbarino was vastly different from what I had anticipated when I placed the book on reserve. I was expecting a book with numerous case studies as well as a description of the author’s involvement as an expert witness. The book primarily focused on the trauma that the killers profiled suffered at the hands of their family and their community. James Garbarino examines the “war zone” mentality that some of the killers suffer under as a result of the community they live in, a community where violence and gang associations are generally a way of life. James Garbarino, in addition, discusses the fact that teenagers are quite often tried as adults and what disastrous results this decision has on the defendants. The author quite often succeeds in opening jurors’ eyes to what the defendant suffered as a young man, and I use young man because the majority of prison inmates are men. Through his advocacy, many defendants are given sentences of life instead of death. The author argues eloquently for a review of the sentencing procedures. He also urges prisons to offer counseling services and educational services so that young offenders might be successfully rehabilitated. This book was a little bit dry for the ordinary citizen but quite eye-opening for anyone interested in the Criminal Justice system.