Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Jamarr’s Promise is a heart-wrenching true story. It is more than just a memoir; it is a story of death, sorrow, and government conspiracy. Kristin I. Morris and Dr. Joseph J. Zielinski share the tragic story of Jamarr Cruz. Jamarr was a bright young boy whose life ended horrifically; he was beaten to death. He was an innocent child caught up in the system. Jamarr was one of many case files for the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency to process. But for Kristin Morris, his case worker, he was more than a case; he was a child in danger and she promised to protect him. Kristin knew when she chose this career that she would see the “worst of the worst.” But no amount of preparation, training or education prepared her for what she would experience working for the DCPP of New Jersey. Kristin dedicated her life to her profession; however, she is not thanked or rewarded. Instead, her employer, the State of New Jersey, betrays her by making her the scapegoat for the death of Jamarr Cruz.
Jamarr’s Promise is written with a purpose. Kristin I. Morris and Dr. Joseph J. Zielinski wrote this book hoping to create change in the child welfare system of New Jersey. By exposing the faults and corruptions of the system, their goal is to “protect innocent children from the fate of Jamarr Cruz.” Morris openly tells her story; she expresses her personal pain and how this event dramatically changed her life and the future of her family. Dr. Zielinski’s influence and professionalism are seen throughout the text. Both authors were impacted by Jamarr’s death and it is revealed in their writing. The facts are told, and the emotions are felt. Kristin I Morris and Dr. Joseph Zielinski were compelled to tell this story. I was reminded as I read, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (Edmund Burke). Disgraced, betrayed, and against all odds, Kristin refuses to sit back and do nothing; she seeks justice. “The guilty parties in this bureaucracy need to be exposed, tried in court and punished.”