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Exonerees and Original Victims of Wrongful Conviction - Listening Sessions to Inform Programs and Research, February 22-24, 2016

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2016
28 pages
Proceedings are reported for a "listening session" that focused on the broad area of wrongful convictions by soliciting input from those who have been victimized in the crime at issue and then re-victimized because someone was mistakenly convicted of the crime due to errors in the criminal justice system's processing of the case.
This session was prompted by a study supported by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) which found that wrongful convictions have a significant impact on the original crime victims and that services are lacking for such victims. The listening session is part of an effort by NIJ to determine what additional research is needed in understanding these victim experiences and addressing their needs. The session's guided discussion began by asking the survivors to describe how they learned about the exoneration in their cases. Some of the survivors cases are briefly described in this report. In addition, the survivors were asked to examine their experiences at three time periods: the weeks and days prior to the exonerated person's release, during and immediately after the exoneration, and the 6 months to 1 year after the exoneration. The survivors also commented on what services would have been helpful to them during each of the time periods. Survivor comments are included in this report. They also commented on what kinds of support were most helpful for them during these periods. In addition, survivors were asked to suggest policy reforms for addressing wrongful convictions and their impacts on the victims in these cases. Among the suggestions are the need for a cultural change in the criminal justice system that currently emphasizes "winning at any cost" and accountability for any misconduct by criminal justice personnel that led to the wrongful conviction.

Date Published: February 1, 2016