Kevin Richardson of the Central Park Five takes a deep breath after 25 years spent in prison for a wrongful conviction
According to the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan, 1,569 men and women in the United States, most of them African American,
have been completely exonerated
after being wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. The number of people exonerated for wrongful convictions actually broke a record high
in 2014 with 125 exonerations, including six people who were actually on death row awaiting execution.
Less than every three days in our country, some man or woman is released back into society after spending a tragic portion of their life behind bars for a crime they never committed. Few injustices can compare to the horror of spending one hour in prison for something you didn't do.
Ricky Jackson of Ohio spent 341,640 hours, or 39 years, behind bars before he was exonerated. Just a teenager when he was convicted, he was nearly a senior citizen when he was released.
Jonathan Fleming was serving the 25th year of a 25-year sentence when he was finally exonerated after a wrongful conviction.
Glenn Ford, on death row for 30 years in Louisiana, was 64 years old when he was released and was exonerated. Stricken with lung cancer, he was only expected to live a few more months.
One study determined that nearly 10,000 people are likely to be wrongfully convicted for serious crimes annually. Another study estimates that as many as 340 people are likely to have been executed in the United States before they were properly exonerated.
This is a travesty. Anyone who says otherwise is sick.
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