Wrongful Convictions in the U.S.

Sydney Roach

Innocent people are imprisoned right now for crimes they didn’t commit. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there have been 2,686 people who have been proven to be wrongfully convicted since 1989. That’s 24,357 years lost in total, with 9 years lost on average per person. The heinous crimes these people are serving for include murder, sexual assault, child sex abuse, drugs, robbery, and more. All of the victims of wrongful conviction get behind bars from either mistaken identity, false confession, incorrect forensic evidence, perjury, or official misconduct. This problem is also an issue of racial disparity. African Americans are only 13% of the American population, but they make up the majority of innocent defendants who are wrongfully convicted. I chose this topic because I’ve always had an interest in true crime. I’ve seen all too often from the documentaries and podcasts that these “mix ups” happen and ruin lives. Not only that, but the real criminals are left free. I felt determined to draw attention to reforming our criminal justice system in the United States to ensure this doesn’t happen to more law abiding citizens. My projects address this topic through shocking data, storytelling, and resources of how to make a difference.