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Just Wrong: The Aftermath of Wrongful Convictions

The strength of our criminal justice system depends on its ability to convict the guilty and clear the innocent. But we know that innocent people are sometimes wrongfully convicted and the guilty remain free to victimize others. The consequences of a wrongful conviction are far-reaching for the wrongfully convicted and the survivors and victims of the original crimes. 

The documentary Just Wrong: The Aftermath of Wrongful Convictions, From Crime Victims to Exonerees, chronicles the experiences of six individuals — three exonerees who spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit and three crime victims or survivors whose lives were impacted by a wrongful conviction.

Watch Just Wrong to see how their lives were interrupted and the challenges they face; then read below to learn about the story behind the video.

We are listening. To examine the impact of wrongful convictions and better understand their needs, in February 2016, NIJ, along with its partners in the Office of Justice Programs and external organizations, hosted listening sessions with victims or survivors of crimes that resulted in wrongful convictions and individuals who have been exonerated. Both original victims and exonerees described the need for specialized services after a wrongful conviction, but usually they did not have access to these services. Read the summary notes from this meeting (pdf, 28 pages)

While there has been substantial attention devoted to the causes of erroneous convictions, there has been limited focus on what happens after an exoneration occurs. Just Wrong: The Aftermath of Wrongful Convictions, From Crime Victims to Exonerees, revisits several participants of these listening sessions to provide them with a forum to explain how wrongful conviction changed their lives and how they are coping with the consequences of that today. Watch Just Wrong to hear their stories.

The National Institute of Justice is dedicated to using science to learn about the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions. Only with this understanding will we minimize these miscarriages of justice, support victims, and restore their confidence in the justice system.

Date Published: October 1, 2017