Let's Compensate the Innocent in All 50 states!

It’s time for all 50 states to compensate the wrongfully convicted

Kansas recently changed the course of history and passed one of the strongest compensation laws in the country. Now 33 states and the Federal government have some form of compensation law for the wrongfully convicted. That still leaves 17 states that provide no compensation or services for innocent men and women, leaving them with nothing to help rebuild their lives upon release. Additionally, many of the existing state laws are terribly inadequate and include restrictions that effectively prevent the innocent from being compensated.

Once an innocent person is released from prison, there is still the daunting struggle of rebuilding a life outside prison walls. States have a responsibility to restore the lives of the wrongfully convicted and integrity to the criminal justice system by providing prompt, compassionate assistance. This includes monetary compensation at a fixed rate for each year served in prison; the immediate provision of subsistence funds; and access to critical services such as housing, food, psychological counseling, medical/dental care, job skills training, education, and other relevant assistance needed to foster the successful rebuilding of their lives.

Improving existing compensation laws

Every state should have a law that provides a straightforward way for exonerees to receive sufficient monetary compensation and services for each year of their wrongful conviction. That means passing strong laws in the states that provide nothing and improving laws that are overly restrictive or provide insufficient assistance. For example under New York law, there are insufficient social services and a lack of immediate subsistence funds, while in New Jersey, {compensation is prohibited to those who} wrongfully convicted people who have pleaded guilty to a crime are ineligible for compensation.

How you can help

We need your help to ensure that every state issues equally attainable and adequate financial support, in addition to transitional and long-term services to support the innocent people they wrongfully convicted.

Please sign the petition above to voice your support for compensating the wrongfully convicted!