Compensation for wrongful convictions doesn’t make up for years lost
Being wrongfully accused of a crime is a nightmare for anyone going through it. Potentially facing prison time can be a terrifying prospect for an innocent person, and it’s equally scary for his or her family members. Unfortunately, many people throughout the U.S. are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, and they can spend years behind bars before evidence proves them innocent – if at all.
The state of Alabama does provide, in some cases, compensation of a minimum of $50,000 for each year a person has been wrongfully imprisoned, says CNN. However, even with compensation, people who have been wrongfully convicted can have a very difficult time adjusting to life after being cleared, especially after spending years in prison for a violent crime they didn’t commit.
Reentering society after years of incarceration can be a shock
According to Forbes, people who have spent many years in prison can feel disoriented and shocked after being released to find technology has changed so much since before their imprisonment. Essentially, they’re stepping into a new world. Exonerated prisoners have been awed and confused by cell phones, tablets and other new gadgets, and may feel overwhelmed to encounter large shopping centers and other areas that didn’t exist before they went to jail. This situation is unfortunate for anyone being released from prison and trying to start their lives over; it’s downright unjust for people who are innocent of any crime.
In addition to the culture shock, exonerated inmates now have to deal with getting by without any housing, money, transportation or health insurance, says The Innocence Project. They may lack the career skills they could have built during the years they were wrongfully imprisoned. Their criminal record is rarely cleared, and they now face the stigma of being a convicted criminal.
The Attorney General has proposed streamlining the death penalty appeals process in Alabama, which opponents say can result in innocent people being executed, says AL.com. The current death penalty process in our state takes about 16 years from conviction to execution; during this time, attorneys attempt to find errors in the trial or new evidence to prove their clients were innocent of homicide or other violent crimes. Recently, six inmates in Alabama had their cases reversed during this appeals process: potentially innocent people who may have been executed had evidence not worked in their favor.
Getting help from an attorney
Nobody should have to go through the nightmare of being wrongfully convicted of a crime. An experienced defense attorney can help from the beginning of the process through the end, and will do everything possible to find evidence to prove the person innocent.