What You Can Do
Whether you’re starting an organization, trying to expand an existing organization or working on your own to spread the word about wrongful convictions, you can get involved in a variety of ways. Here are some initial activities that anyone can do (if you have suggestions for other activities, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org):
1. Organize a signature drive
The Petition for Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testing calls on state lawmakers to pass legislation ensuring that all people convicted of crimes can appeal for DNA testing when it has the potential to overturn their conviction. Share this link with your friends, classmates and teachers, and ask them to sign the petition.
Download a hard copy of the petition. (Collect signatures, and then mail the petition to the Innocence Project to record them)
2. Host an awareness event or fundraiser
Events across the country have raised awareness about wrongful convictions, engaged more people in efforts to reform the criminal justice system and raised money for the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project can provide materials for your event and, in some cases, we can arrange for an exoneree or attorney to speak at your event.
3. Start or expand a student organization on your campus or in your community
Organizing on your campus or in your community can help build a broader base of support for addressing and preventing wrongful convictions. By starting or expanding a youth group, you can put a structure in place that will remain after you have graduated.
Find out here how to start a student organization. To join the Innocence Project’s list of student organizations – and receive regular updates, ideas for events and material you can use to strengthen your group – email email@example.com.
4. Write an article about wrongful convictions in your school newspaper or persuade the paper to cover these issues more
The Innocence Project can supply you with information about our organization, wrongful convictions and the remedies that can improve the criminal justice system. The Innocence Blog can provide you with up-to-date news in your area (including timely developments on state legislation), or you can focus more generally on one of the causes of wrongful convictions.
Click here for tips on reaching out to the media about wrongful convictions.
5. Reach out to legislators
Legislators need to know that preventing wrongful convictions is a priority for their constituents. If a legislator is speaking on your campus, attend the event and raise wrongful convictions during the question-and-answer session. You can also proactively reach out directly to legislators to tell them why these issues are important. Most criminal justice policy is set on the local or state level, so focusing on state legislators is the best place to start. You can write or call legislators to share your views and ask them to help prevent wrongful convictions, or you can reach out to others in your community or state who may already be in touch with legislators and find out the best way you can help.
6. Spread the word online
Help educate and engage more young people about wrongful convictions. You can contact people directly or raise awareness through social networking sites.
Click here to send personal emails to your friends, family, classmates and others. You can share this website with them and tell them why you are involved in preventing wrongful convictions.