There are many individuals who are trying to bring justice to the wrongly convicted, such as Bryan Stevenson in Walter McMillian’s case. He successfully established the Equal Justice Initiative whose mission is to free the wrongfully convicted. Similar projects, like the Innocence Project exonerate the wrongfully convicted through DNA testing; and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices (Innocence Project). These projects have excelled in bringing justice to many American citizens; however, they are constantly in conflict with the justice system. Change needs to occur on a systematic level in order to achieve justice for individuals after they have been released from prison. “In 2004, Congress passed the Justice for All Act with bipartisan support. The law guarantees individuals exonerated of federal crimes $50,000 for every year spent in prison and $100,000 for every year spent on death row” (Rodd). The governments compensation seems to be the easiest way to keep them out of trouble, and to make sure those who were wrongfully convicted are satisfied enough that they don’t pursue any more action against the state. However, each state differs on their bills on exoneration which can make it difficult for individuals to get the compensation they need. Kansas does not give compensation for the exonerated. One would need to file a lawsuit in order to get compensation. A lawsuit is time-consuming and winning isn’t a guarantee (Rodd). There are different standards with each state being a little more difficult than the others. Ames Grawert said “Even when someone is found innocent, it is not always easy to put your life back together after years in prison. The best way to correct wrongful convictions is to build a system that prevents them altogether” (Grawert). The government needs to create an overruling law that creates a fair and equal standard that allows compensation for all who have been exonerated. They should not have to face the consequences for someone else’s wrong doing.
Grawert, Ames. “Wrongful Convictions.” Brennan Center for Justice, 3 Mar. 2020, www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/wrongful-convictions.
Rodd, Scott. “What Do States Owe People Who Are Wrongfully Convicted?” The Pew Charitable Trusts, 14 Mar. 2017, www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/03/14/what-do-states-owe-people-who-are-wrongfully-convicted.