May Book Review: Let’s Get Free by Paul Butler


The Society for Hip Hop & Education has four initiatives with politics being one of them. Therefore, when I review books I try to review books that touch on those initiatives just as much as books on the elements. This book written by a former prosecutor for the Justice Department, Paul Butler, who uses his experience at the highest level of law to educate and provide the handbook on how to fundamentally reform the judicial system that has targeted and terrorized Black-Americans since the establishment of this country. The book is easy to follow even with the use of the legal jargon anyone beginning at high school education levels and up can read this book, do not allow the subject matter to detour you. The author also interprets the law throughout the book for a clearer understanding.

The book starts off reading as a novel almost as he gives his background followed by his experience on the other side of the law. There is a lot in the news today regarding the relationship between Black-Americans and the justice system which is represented by your local police force. This book was written in 2009 but today will serve a great purpose and educate those who may have questions or those who may be looking for the next steps to take in reaction to police brutality, power abuse, and misuse. Mr. Butler’s personal story draws you in and raises a lot of questions about the justice system that he answers as a professional. Someone from the inside giving you the breakdown on how to literally take down mass incarceration. This book serves as a handbook for the judiciary revolution. That day when Black-Americans are all on one page and ready to really overcome this book will be a part of the plan.

For every problem there is a resolution. For every process that the justice system has there is a plan for restructuring. There is a recommendation for sentencing if convicted of said crimes. It presents a system that is fair and compassionate towards the citizens it currently tortures. There are solution presented to each problem within our flawed system. Remember in politics you have to change the laws, the policies, the facilities, and everything that comes with the overall idea and aspect of how the law operates today. The War on Drugs has since been realized as what some may call just a bad idea. This book provides an alternative to how we identify and objectify alleged ‘criminals.’

The book goes on to discuss how the criminal justice system is viewed in Hip Hop culture. The relationship between Rappers and the justice system is scrutinized. The author goes on to mention the ‘Hip Hop Police’ although he didn’t mention them by that name we’ve all known that the NYPD and other agencies have targeted Rap artists in the past. The point of view that Black-Americans have about the justice system is uniquely our own as explained in the text. The use of technology within the criminal justice system is critiqued on how it is misused and how it should be used. The book even mentions politicians who ran on the platform of prison reform that have not made any headway on the topic since taking office. A lot of people could learn from just reading this book. I recommend this book to all social studies classes in high schools and colleges. Law programs should add this book to their curriculum as a way to make young lawyers aware of this problem and how to possibly change the system on their level. The author provides references for those who like to follow up and ‘cross examine’ information. This book would be beneficial to those who are on the streets who are seen as criminals by the justice system as well as those who aren’t privy to that lifestyle. This is a great book and I hope you pick it up.

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