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.
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