Between past, present and future

My first book, The Way of the Prisoner, was published in 2003. In the following years and decades, another five books and four translations followed. My subjects were meditation and medieval Christian mystics; justice and penal reform; liberation theology and the social gospel; and, of course, my case and my life. Working as an author in prison was not without risk: After the release of my second book, I was thrown into the punishment block for six weeks because I had dared to criticize the prison system publicly. That didn’t deter me, and my third book even won a small literary prize. After my release, I published a seventh book in Germany, Return to Life, about my first year in freedom. Unfortunately, no American publisher was interested in releasing a translation, but all of my earlier books are still available in the U.S.


Jens Söring über seinen Kampf zurück ins Leben – nach 33 Jahren in US-Haft

Drei Jahrzehnte saß Jens Söring unter härtesten Bedingungen in US-Haft, verurteilt für den Mord an den Eltern seiner Freundin. Bis heute gibt es Zweifel an seiner Schuld. Er war 19, als er ins Gefängnis kam, fast sein gesamtes erwachsenes Leben hat er hinter Gittern verbracht. Was er dort erlebt und überlebt hat, prägt Jens Söring für immer. Nachdem er am 17. Dezember 2019 auf Bewährung freigelassen wird, kehrt er im Alter von 53 Jahren nach Deutschland zurück. Eindringlich schildert Söring in seinem Buch sein erstes Jahr in Freiheit, in dem er alltägliche und für uns selbstverständliche Erfahrungen zum ersten Mal macht, aber auch immer wieder von seinen Erinnerungen ans Gefängnis eingeholt wird. Wie schafft es ein Mensch, all das zu verarbeiten? Die aufwühlende Geschichte eines Mannes, der mit seiner Vergangenheit leben und sich eine Zukunft aufbauen muss.
C. Bertelsmann Verlag
Hardcover mit Schutzumschlag (auch als Ebook erhältlich),
304 Seiten, 13,5 x 21,5 cm 
ISBN: 978-3-570-10434-7

„So schockierend Jens Sörings Fall auch ist, mich schockiert er nicht mehr. So etwas passiert in den USA ständig. Hier sitzen tausende unschuldige Menschen im Gefängnis. Jetzt hat Jens das Allerwichtigste erreicht: Er ist frei; er ist einem furchtbaren Gefängnissystem entkommen. Er hat hoffentlich noch viele gute Jahre vor sich.“

John Grisham
Bestseller-Autor und ehem. Strafverteidiger, Vorstand des Innocence Project


Auch als AUDIOBOOK erhältlich

Gesprochen von Jens Söring und Philipp Schepmann

John Verlag | Audio CD (Länge ca. 10 Stunden) | ISBN: 978-3-963-840-623

„Wer nichts waget, der darf nichts hoffen.“

Friedrich von Schiller


Did a Fatal Attraction Lead to a Wrongful Conviction?

with Bill Sizemore, introduction by Martin Sheen

In 1985, socialites Derek and Nancy Haysom were found brutally stabbed to death in their home in Boonsboro, Virginia. When suspicion turned to the Haysoms’ beautiful but troubled daughter, Elizabeth, and her German boyfriend, Jens Soering, their case became one of the most notorious in the Commonwealth’s history. After fleeing with Elizabeth to Europe, Jens ultimately confessed to the crime, under the illusion that as the son of a German consular official he’d be granted diplomatic immunity. He believed he was nobly sacrificing his life for love — just as Sydney Carton does for Lucie Manette in Charles Dickens‘ Tale of Two Cities. Now published for the first time in English, Jens tells his side of the story: of how a naïve and reckless scholar fell into a world of deception, drugs, and ultimately murder. His compelling, revelatory account is accompanied by the painstaking analysis of Bill Sizemore, a journalist who’s followed the Soering case for over a decade.

Lantern Books, 2017
Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1590565649

One Day in the Life of 179212

Notes from an American prison

Told with dry humor, One Day in the Life of 179212 provides an hour-by-hour survey of everyday life in an American medium-security facility with all of its attendant hardships, contradictions, and even revelations. Soering poignantly illustrates the importance of meditation and faith when confronted with extreme adversity, in addition to making a highly compelling case for prison reform. Although this inspiring, eloquent memoir recounts just a day in the life of one man, much like Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, it provides a powerful voice for the over two million men and women lost in the maze of America’s prison-industrial complex.

Lantern Books, 2012
Paperback, 176 pages
ISBN-10: 159056345X

THE Church of the Second Chance

A Faith-Based Approach to Prison Reform

When we draw inspiration from the “great cloud of witnesses” to the Christian faith (Hebrews 12:1), we often forget that many of those witnesses were people we might shun and condemn if we met them today: namely, convicts and criminals. In his fourth book, Jens Soering demonstrates that, despite committing or abetting theft, murder, and even terrorism, figures like Adam and Eve, Samson, and Paul were raised to places of honor in what we might call the Church of the Second Chance. In fact, the stories of these biblical outlaws contain the clues to solving a social crisis that has been building for over thirty years: the problem of America’s prisons. Each chapter begins with a fruitful Bible study, goes on to examine a crucial problem besetting our jails and penitentiaries, and ends with an interview that demonstrates how people are working today, in and out of prison, to apply God’s word our own lives and times.

Lantern Books, 2008
Paperback, 326 pages
ISBN-10: 15905611120

The Convict Christ

What the Gospel Says about Criminal Justice

An inmate for life, Jens Soering tells stories of prison life that are shocking and inspiring. He confronts us with Jesus’s challenge to love not only the least amongst us but those who are perceived as the worst amongst us.Anyone interested in what goes on behind the walls of our nation’s prisons–and in seeing the face of Christ in everyone–will value this authentic, harrowing, and visionary search for redemption. Jens Soering has been incarcerated in Virginia since 1990. He is the author of The Way of the Prisoner and An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse.
Orbis Books, 2006
Paperback, 138 pages
ISBN-10: 1570756481

An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse

An Essay on Prison Reform from an Insider’s Perspective

The United States has more people locked away in prison per capita than any other country. Prison building is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and in some states more money is spent on prisons and prisoners than on education. Yet, in spite of the vast amount of resources spent on locking people up and the number of people in prison, the United States leads the developed world in the number of homicides and violent assaults. For the last eighteen years, Jens Soering has experienced the inside of many different prison environments, from a youth remand center in London to Americas notorious Supermax prisons, to medium-security institutions. What he has seen and experienced has convinced him that not only do prisons not rehabilitate prisoners, but prisons turn petty criminals into hardened convicts — all at enormous expense to society. Soering does not argue that prisons should not exist or dispute that there are people who need to be locked away. Instead, An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse offers a mainly monetary analysis of why it is absurd fiscal policy to lock people up so often and for so long.

Lantern Books, 2004
Paperback, 128 pages
ISBN-10: 1590560760

The Way of the Prisoner

Breaking the Chains of Self Through Centering Prayer and Centering Practice

Centering Prayer is a modern adaptation of the ancient practice of contemplative prayer, a process of inner purification and an opening of the mind and heart to God. In this remarkable book, Jens Soering, an inmate in a Virginia prison, tells how Centering Prayer and its corollary, Centering Practice—contemplative prayer in action—enable him to survive the daily pain of prison life. Through a moving true story of personal redemption that shocks and inspires, Soering shows how we can all transform our crosses, our prisons (literal or metaphorical), into the means of our salvation.

Lantern Books, 2003
Paperback, 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1590560558
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