Brave dude, this Omar Yamini. Brave for experiencing the Cook County Jail and IL penitentiary system, brave for taking control of his mind and spirit, brave for recognizing that his own salvation could be found in being a guide to other young men, brave for the nonprofit work he does now, brave for writing this book.
Yamini's memoir is in the "Scared Straight" vein: prison is inhumane, and being there will push you to lose your humanity. He has no shortage of stories and anecdotes that will send chills up your spine and break your heart. Yamini and I are about the same age, and I found myself playing my own life story as he recounted his 15 years in prison: astounding.
This book was a gift from an administrator at OPRF who knows Yamini personally. He is now an Oak Parker, and I am really hoping to meet him and have him talk with my summer students
What’s Wrong With You! (What You, Your Children, and Our Students Need To Know About My 15 Year Imprisonment From Age 20 to 35) is well written, follows a logical time line, and isn’t repetitive, but could use an editor in terms of focus—who is the intended audience for the book? It’s not really “scared straight” in any preachy way, thank goodness, but more of an honest accounting of the daily inanities, filth, pressures, and stresses of living in small cages with mentally ill and serious offenders. This is what “doing time” ultimately means. Author Omar Yamini was an accessory to a crime; i.e. he was present but did not actually commit the crime. It is a miracle that anyone can come out of that situation with any kind of sanity, and it’s clear that Yamini did. It’s an important book and I will continue to have it on my shelves, yet the cumbersome and confusing title reflects the lack of focus and has killed any interest in it for my sensitive and defensive teen readers who would rarely if ever pick up a book with “What is Wrong With You” as a title.
slew of bad decisions and hanging out with the wrong crowd paved the way for 20 year-old Omar Yamini to spend 15 years behind bars for first-degree murder even though he didn’t commit the crime. Three years ago, at age 35, he had to get accustomed to life outside of prison, and that was quite an adjustment. He wrote a book titled What's Wrong With You! (What You, Your Children, and Our Students Need To Know About My 15 Year Imprisonment From Age 20 to 35). It details his experience and the effects of prison culture.
Omar Yamini is now working a motivational speaker and founder and executive director of both The Proper Perception AND Determined To Be UpRight. He talks about what it's like living behind bars and how he hopes his book can be a turning point in someone’s life.
Author Omar Yamini joined “NewsOne Now” guest host Mo Ivory to talk about his new book, “What’s Wrong With You!” Yamini detailed how a series of bad choices and hanging out with the wrong people got him a 15 year prison sentence. Yamini also details the effect incarceration has on people. Listen to his powerful testimony below.