On Monday, the Innocence Network released Innocence Network Exonerations 2013, its fifth annual publication detailing each of this year’s cases of innocent people who were exonerated of crimes that they did not commit.
According to the report, the Network achieved 31 total exonerations in 2013, the largest number that the Network has secured in the five years that it has reported its exonerations. Twenty-nine people in the United States and two people in the Netherlands were exonerated by Network members. DNA contributed to the exonerations of 14 people. The other 17 were exonerated by other means. The 31 people exonerated served a combined 451 years behind bars (and an average of 14.5 years each). Two men served more than three decades. Three women were exonerated this year, also a record for the Network.
Keith Findley, President of the Innocence Network and Co-Director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project said while the report is a “stark reminder of the flaws that plague the system,” it also serves as a signal that “the innocence movement that began two decades ago is gradually making progress in improving the system.”
Last year, in addition to securing a record number of exonerations, Network member organizations lobbied statehouse across the country for reforms to improve identification procedures, reduce false confessions and compensate the wrongly convicted.
The Innocence Network is composed of 63 member organizations — 52 members in the United States and 11 members in other countries—which work to overturn wrongful convictions and to bring substantive reform to the criminal justice system.
Download the full report here