The Innocence Project is a national organization that works to exonerate people wrongfully convicted through DNA testing and to reform 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 tend to be more policed, face persistent discrimination, suffer higher rates of poverty, and face many more challenges in the criminal legal system. In total, these people have spent more than 3,600 years behind bars. In nearly half of the cases addressed by the Innocence Project, clients' culpability is reconfirmed by DNA testing.
Of all the cases addressed by the Innocence Project so far, around 43% of clients were proven innocent, 42% confirmed guilty, and the evidence was inconclusive or evidentiary in 15% of the cases. The Innocence Project and the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) are committed to introducing improvements such as fundamental procedural reforms to improve the accuracy of the identification of eyewitnesses, the electronic recording of all interrogations in serious crime cases in their entirety, the removal of all restrictions on post-conviction DNA testing, and the promotion of forensic scientific research and scientifically developed standards. The important partnership and collaboration between NACOLE, its members and the Innocence Project will lead the nation toward a fairer and more infallible criminal justice process. To highlight the contributions of statisticians working in this area, the Innocence Project helped coordinate a special issue of Significance, a journal of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. This issue included articles on the need for objective measurements, reliability, and the validity and meaning of a “coincidence” co-authored by Innocence Project attorney Dana Delger. Just Data is an annual virtual meeting hosted by the Innocence Project dedicated to fostering social sciences, connecting diverse stakeholders, and promoting practical research to promote the innocence movement.
The Ohio Innocence Project and the Innocence Project have also created a series of educational videos that present various ways in which human factors can lead to wrongful convictions. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) administers a post-conviction DNA testing grant program to exonerate innocent people and help defray costs associated with reviewing post-conviction cases, locating evidence, and DNA testing in violent crime cases where results can prove real innocence. It is important to note that with so many groups dedicated to exonerating innocents scattered throughout the judicial landscape, there is room for falsifications to grow. A review of each case revealed that in some cases, The Innocence Project website did not include a clear description of inadequate forensic science or ambiguity in their narrative. In addition, evidence described was actually exculpatory. To conclude, it is clear that while there are cases where clients' culpability is reconfirmed by DNA testing, there are also many cases where innocent people have been exonerated due to the hard work of organizations like The Innocence Project. By entering your phone number on their website you agree to receive periodic text messages from them.