Gun Present: Inside a Southern District Attorney’s Battle Against Gun Violence

Desktop News | March 2024

An extraordinary partnership between academic researchers and criminal justice professionals has provided an unprecedented perspective on the challenges of prosecuting gun-related cases. University of Alabama Professor Susan Dewey along with her esteemed coauthors Brittany VandeBerg and Hays Webb, is preparing to launch the groundbreaking book, Gun Present: Inside a Southern District Attorney’s Battle Against Gun Violence.

The book introduces readers to a fresh perspective on the pervasive problem of crimes committed with guns. It delves into the professional lives of prosecutors who confront this critical issue head-on, painting a deeply human portrait of their relentless efforts. Written by an anthropologist, a geographer, and District Attorney Hays Webb, the book goes beyond mere statistics to offer an insiders’ view into the everyday work prosecutors do to keep communities safe.

“We hope our book offers readers a window into what prosecutors are doing to combat crimes committed with guns, how they are handling these cases, and the challenges they face in doing so. We walk the reader very openly and honestly through these realities,” said Dewey. “because we want to encourage greater community trust and participation in criminal justice processes by making them even more transparent to the public.”

Gun Present offers readers a 360-degree view of the intricacies of the criminal justice system, addressing the challenges, victories, and everyday work of prosecuting gun-related cases. This exceptional text combines several years of in-depth ethnographic observation, interviews, quantitative analysis of over a thousand gun-related criminal cases, and analysis of trial transcripts. The authors explore the multifaceted components of the justice assemblage, encompassing institutional structures, practices, relationships, roles and individual moral and emotional experiences, which collectively shape the daily administration of justice.

Gun Present isn’t just a book; it’s a groundbreaking collaboration between academic research and frontline criminal justice work. It offers invaluable insights into the challenges of prosecuting gun-related cases and innovative policy measures to combat crimes committed with guns. As the release date approaches in March, we encourage everyone to anticipate this exceptional work, which promises to reshape our comprehension of the criminal justice system’s role in addressing the critical issue of gun violence.