Exonerees face the formidable task of reinventing their lives and identities when they walk out of prison. Many of them have lived decades within the rigid confines of prison. Navigating the intense transition back into the "outside world" can be distressing and disorienting.
The Innocence Project aims to meet the varied and individualized needs of each of out clients upon their release. Our Social Work department reaches out to exonerees before they have even left prison to assess what type of support they will need to restore their lives. Needs can fall on a broad spectrum, from locating birth certificates and social security numbers to finding family members, securing housing or arranging for critical medical and psychological treatment.
To reinforce a network of support, the Social Work team organizes workshops, social events and other opportunities for exonerees to exchange stories about their experiences.
In many cases, the wrongfully convicted face the same problems as ex-offenders upon release, however, reentry services are provided to New York ex-offenders. There are no services formally offered to exonerees. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision partners with community-based organizations and governmental agencies to deliver support to individuals on parole.
Since they were 14 and 16, respectively,Jonathan Barr and his brother James Harden lived behind bars. They never had to take care of themselves in the outside world; now free and in their thirties, they’re taking care of each other.
DNA testing has freed scores of innocent inmates around the country. But where does a wrongly convicted person go when released from prison without a safety net?
Immediately upon release from prison, exonerees receive no federal or state funding and often lack basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Your gift to will provide recent exonerees with the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Join with the 65,000 people who are committed to helping free the innocent.