The Hawaii Innocence Project (HIP) is a non-profit legal clinic that works to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted. Since its inception, HIP has 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. HIP receives between 6,000 and 8,000 potential cases each year, and around 2,400 prisoners write to the organization annually. In nearly half of the cases addressed by HIP, clients' culpability is reconfirmed by DNA testing.
The organization also works with local, state, and federal levels of law enforcement, legislators, and other programs to prevent further wrongful convictions. HIP has more students enrolled in its class than at any time since the program was launched. One of the goals of this year's program is to better inform the community about HIP and its mission. The organization also created a series of educational videos that present various ways in which human factors can lead to wrongful convictions. Just Data is the annual virtual meeting of HIP dedicated to promoting the social sciences, connecting diverse stakeholders, and promoting practical research to promote the innocence movement. Civil Beat has been named the best general news site in Hawaii for the thirteenth consecutive year by the Hawaii section of the Society of Professional Journalists. HIP receives dozens of requests each year from inmates and family members who assert their innocence.
But now those individuals have a powerful ally in their corner: HIP is backed by volunteer attorneys from the University of Hawaii who are committed to helping those who have been wrongfully convicted.