Photos: InnocenceProject\National Registry of Exonerations
Earlier this month, the innocence movement reached a sobering milestone. According to a report released by the National Registry of Exonerations, the total time lost by wrongfully convicted innocent exonerees reached 25,000 years in prison.
On average, that is 8 years and 11 months in prison for each of the more than 2,800 people exonerated since 1989.
Though a stark number, it does not capture the full loss to wrongful convictions. The 25,000 years does not include the time served by the thousands of men and women incarcerated for crimes they did not commit who have not been able to prove their innocence.
The report also notes that governments have paid out more than $2.9 billion in state authorized compensation and civil law suits for damages. However, only about 45% of exonerees have received any compensation to date.
Thirty six states have laws requiring compensation for exonerees with some states offering as little as $5,000 for every year spent wrongfully imprisoned. Texas has one of the most generous compensation laws in the U.S. with exonerees receiving $80,000 for each year of incarceration related to their conviction. IPTX was instrumental in passing this legislation in 2009, named in honor of Tim Cole, who died during his wrongful prison sentence and was later posthumously pardoned after DNA evidence exonerated him and identified the actual perpetrator.
To learn more about the impact of wrongful convictions, read the full report from the National Registry of Exonerations here.