This report, based on a meeting hosted by National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Office for Victims of Crime, and external organizations, explores the issue of wrongful convictions through literature reviews, analysis, and discussion of themes emerging from listening sessions for victims or survivors of crimes resulting in wrongful convictions.
This report builds on the listening sessions for victims or survivors of crimes that resulted in wrongful convictions during a three-day meeting hosted by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Office for Victims of Crime, and external organizations. The three-day meeting allowed NIJ and its federal partners to hear directly from participants who had been victimized and revictimized due to errors of justice. On the third day, the federal observers met to discuss possible actions to be taken for research and practice. The report contains three chapters: Chapter 1 reviews 100 years of scholarship on wrongful convictions, ranging from early case studies of exonerations to more recent scientific analyses of wrongful convictions. The review finds that knowledge about the prevalence and causes of these serious miscarriages of justice remains limited and mixed at best. Chapter 2 focuses on several “elephants in the courtroom” that have not garnered significant attention among wrongful conviction scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and activists. This section examines the deep linkages between race, society, the administration of justice, and wrongful convictions. Chapter 3 discusses the major themes that emerged during the listening sessions in an effort to better understand the problems victims and those who have been exonerated face during the review of post-conviction innocence claims and after the exoneration. The report concludes with policy recommendations to help address the most pressing issues.
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