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Cutting Tape: Faster Recovery for the Wrongfully Convicted?

3 comments

An Ohio legislator has introduced legislation making it faster and easier for wrongfully convicted people to receive their compensation for their time in prison. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that:

State Sen. David Goodman, Republican from New Albany, introduced a bill last week that would require the state to pay wrongly imprisoned people 50 percent of their mandated compensation within 60 days of their release from prison.

In the past, the wrongly convicted have waited for months — sometimes more than a year — to receive settlements from the state.

As attorneys who represent victims of civil rights violations like discrimination and police misconduct, it’s great to see legislators cutting through the red tape to try and speed the recovery for these victims. Wrongful imprisonment is a compound crime: (1) the original crime; (2) the actual perpetrator is not captured (and the police stop looking, thinking they captured the right person); and then (3) an innocent person is sent to prison. Hopefully, this new law can help reduce the transition burden from prison to recovering and re-starting the wrongfully-imprisoned person’s life. It may not pass in time to help recently-freed Raymond Towler, who spent 29 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but it’s a start.

Even a casual look at the people who have been wrongfully convicted is heart-rending. Certainly, this is a small step, but an important one.

Please share your thoughts below in the comment section. It’s quick and easy!

3 Comments

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    It seems to me that this is one issue to which the phrase “the faster, the better” truly applies. The wrongfully convicted generally re-enter society with numerous factors weighing against them and their ability to support themselves: the loss of whatever job or career they might have been maintaining/developing at the time of the conviction, the length of time since they worked, the need to readjust to life outside of prison, even the general stigma of having been convicted of a crime (albeit wrongfully so). The rationale for compensating these individuals goes beyond the need to right a wrong perpetrated by the state. This compensation assists them in making a transition back into society. Given the uphill battle waged by most people who have been wrongfully convicted — and the extreme burden of proof they bear in proving that they were wrongfully convicted — there is generally no basis for making them wait. Thank you for this interesting post.

  2. Christine Zuniga says:
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    It is reprehensible that the state delays settlements for the wrongfully imprisoned. My gratitude to State Senator Goodman for seeking to correct such an injustice.

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    Thank you both for your comments! Let’s hope this bill becomes law very soon.