The Innocence Project: Righting the Wrongs of Wrongful Convictions

The Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization based at the Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University, is devoted to exonerating people wrongfully convicted through DNA testing and other scientific advances, as well as reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices. To date, they have helped free or exonerate more than 200 people, most of whom come from communities of color that are disproportionately policed, face persistent discrimination, and suffer higher rates of poverty. In total, these individuals have spent over 3,600 years behind bars. The Innocence Project is a 501 (c) (nonprofit) legal organization that is committed to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted and to working to reform the criminal justice system. Studies estimate that between 1% and 10% of all prisoners in the United States are innocent.

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who gained national attention in the mid-1990s as part of the Dream Team of lawyers in the O. J. Simpson trial. To address the disproportionate and unfair treatment that leads to wrongful convictions of black and brown people, the Innocence Project is committed to strengthening police and prosecutorial accountability, requiring prosecutors to submit crucial evidence to defense counsel on time, regulating prison informants, improving forensic science practices, and more. Of all the cases handled by the Innocence Project to date, about 43% of the clients were found innocent, 42% were confirmed guilty, and the evidence was inconclusive or evidentiary in 15% of the cases.

In nearly half of the cases addressed by the Innocence Project, clients' culpability is reconfirmed through DNA testing. These figures provide a snapshot of wrongful convictions rectified with the help of the Innocence Project. In addition to working on behalf of those who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in the United States, those who work for the Innocence Project conduct research and promotional activities related to the causes of wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project also works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, legislators, and other programs to prevent further wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project fights to correct these systemic problems through strategic litigation, policy reforms, and education. Every year around 2,400 prisoners write to the Innocence Project and at any given time they evaluate between 6,000 and 8,000 potential cases.

By entering your phone number you agree to receive periodic text messages from them.

Leave Message

Required fields are marked *