Exonerations are some of the most controversial topics in the justice system, and they can be both good and bad.
According to a report of the National Registry of Exonerations, almost 140 exonerations or vindications occurred in 2017. Most of these involved violent crimes. These include 51 defendants charged with homicide, 29 with sexual assault causes on adults, and 18 people on robbery, attempted murder, and arson. At least 41 of these prisoners were charged with non-violent crimes, while 16 were exonerated from their drug-related sentences.
When it comes to jurisdictions, California had nine, making it the fifth state with the most number of exonerations. The first on the list was Texas with 23, followed by Illinois with 21, Michigan with 14, and New York with 13. Since 1989, the Golden State had more than 200 pardons.
The Impact of These Exonerations
In California, exonerations are some of the reasons for charged individuals to work with criminal defense attorneys such as The Law Office Of Troy P. Owens, Jr. While it stands for freedom and vindication, it can also have a severe negative impact on the former prisoners and the state’s economy.
Wrongful convictions can lead to a taxpayer spending of more than $125 million. This cost already includes the amount the state spent while the person was in prison. It may also cover for the compensation of these prisoners due to the wrongful conviction.
The UC Berkeley School of Law further revealed that exonerated individuals could have lost no less than 1,300 years of their life.
Many of these former inmates also struggle with the reintegration or reentry to society. Despite the overturning of the conviction, the social stigma can remain for years. Some of them may have already strained marital or family relations. Others will struggle to find employment or are prone to job discrimination.
In the end, prison changes a person’s life whether they are innocent or not. The only way to avoid going through these challenges is to have the best defense when accused of a crime that you did not commit.