Kevin Bailey: My first Christmas home in nearly 30 years

By Kevin Bailey

For the first time in almost 30 years, I’ll be spending this Christmas at home with my family. It may sound like a simple way to spend the day, but after the past three decades in prison, it’s a miracle. I’m so thankful.

It may sound like a simple way to spend the day, but after the past three decades in prison, it’s a miracle.

In 1989, I was just 19 years old when I was questioned for more than 12 hours about a murder I didn’t commit. I falsely confessed only after a detective from the Chicago Police Department grabbed me by the neck and threatened me. Based on that, I was convicted and spent the next three decades fighting to prove my innocence.

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Finally, this January, with the help of the Innocence Project and supporters like you, I walked out of prison a free man.

Now, I’m living with my brother, working a full-time job where I was recently promoted, and looking forward to the future. I’m excited for my first Christmas at home in three decades, which I’ll celebrate with my brother and the rest of my family. I will enjoy a few days off from work, and I’m hoping to feed the hungry at a local church. I’m grateful to be where I am today and to share some good fortune with others in need.

I’m excited for my first Christmas at home in three decades.

Even though I’m free, I know there are other innocent people who are still behind bars this holiday season. They deserve to be home, too, and I hope you’ll keep fighting for them until wrongful convictions are a thing of the past.

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Thank you for your support and happy holidays.


  1. Suzanne Martin

    Hi Kevin

    Sending good vibes and well wished from Ireland

    Have a great Christmas

    From Suzanne Martin

  2. PJ Del

    Why isn’t a DNA test the first automatic thing that’s performed if in fact there is something that can be tested for DNA? This is a no brainer. If money is the issue, Advocate groups should step in and pay for it after professional scrutiny deems it reasonable and warranted.

    • Jason Seiders

      DNA testing has only truely been known in the last 20 years, and even then, 20 years ago DNA testing was slow and wasn’t the most consistent. However, nowadays it’s significantly quicker and more accurate.

  3. Amanda Turner

    PJ, DNA wasn’t regularly used in courtrooms until the mid-1990s. A lot of evidence was not properly collected and stored. In some cases, there still may be evidence that can be tested forensically for DNA.

    Yes, money is the issue. Trying to exonerate one person who is convicted costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. A large problem is also the fact that many innocent people falsely confess under police pressure and police coercion, for example, telling them they will get the death penalty unless they agree to a plea deal. 25% of convicted people who were freed from prison after being exonerated by DNA evidence actually falsely confessed! And they were proven innocent. So very few people believe in them – the Innocent Project is one of the few that does. Thank you, Innocence Project, for believing in Kevin Bailey and so many other innocent people!

  4. LaDonna English

    I’m so sorry for what you have been through, yet am celebrating God’s goodness with you. He uses everything for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Thank you for serving Him by helping others this Christmas outside the bars. God is good.

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