Distinguished St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger will share thoughts from his upcoming book “Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalize the Poor in the Name of Justice” at a Skylark Bookshop event on Thursday, December 9th.
Messenger won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in commentary for a 2018 series of articles that “exposed the wrongdoing and injustice of forcing poor rural Missourians accused of misdemeanors to pay unaffordable fines or be sent to jail.” noted the Pulitzer committee.
The writer has an important history with Columbia, working on the Tribune as a columnist and editor from 1999 to 2006 and receiving a Missouri Medal of Honor from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2016.
Along with its award-winning columns, “Profit and Punishment” promises to examine how the US criminal justice system demands disproportionate demands from citizens convicted of relatively trivial crimes. The prohibitive financial penalties spill over lives and years, creating a punishment that does not match the crime, the book claims.
The book “is a call to arms, highlighting a two-tier system invisible to most Americans,” according to a blurb on the Skylark website.
“Combining hard evidence with poignant first-hand stories, it’s a powerful call for change,” said a review of the book by Publishers Weekly. “Profit and Punishment” hits stores and shelves Tuesday.
Messenger’s book conference begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. For more information, visit https://www.skylarkbookshop.com/.