The Innocence Project is a 501 (c) (nonprofit) legal organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. It is a national litigation and public policy organization 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. Studies suggest 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 were part of the Dream Team formed by lawyers for the O. J. Simpson case. 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.
The Washington Innocence Project is another 501 (c) (nonprofit) organization that works to free innocent people from jail, advocates for policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions, and provides support services to wrongfully convicted people and their families. They partner with activists and organizations working on these issues, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, legislators, and other programs to prevent further wrongful convictions. In nearly half of the cases addressed by the Innocence Project, clients' culpability is reconfirmed by DNA testing. In addition to working on behalf of those who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes throughout the United States, those who work for the Innocence Project conduct research and promotional activities related to the causes of wrongful convictions.
On May 31st, the Washington Innocence Project organized a community debate on the role and importance of prosecutors in the criminal justice system. Of all the cases handled by the Innocence Project so far, around 43% of the clients were proven innocent, 42% obtained confirmation of their guilt, and the evidence was inconclusive or evidentiary in 15% of the cases. The Innocence Project's groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable evidence that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but rather stem from systemic defects. We need your help to free innocent men and women unjustly imprisoned today and to help prevent innocent people from being unjustly convicted in the future.