• The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 36 states; since 2000, there have been 235 exonerations.
• 18 of the 302 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.
• The average length of time served by exonerees is 13.6 years. The total number of years served is approximately 4,036.
• The average age of exonerees at the time of their wrongful convictions was 27.
Races of the 302 exonerees:
188 African Americans
2 Asian American
5 whose race is unknown
source:The Innocence Project-Facts On Post Conviction DNA Exonerations
What the above says about the criminal justice system in the U.S. is that it is anything but ‘just’ to say the least. I realize that no system is going to be perfect, however, the figures clearly show that racism plays a huge factor in wrongful convictions when African Americans make up over half of those exonerated and who have spent decades in prison for a crime they did not commit. It begs the question, just how many have been put to death who were innocent? Speaking for myself, I could not imagine heading(back in the day)to the electric chair knowing that I am innocent and about to die for a crime that I did not commit. Nor can I imagine heading to the ‘lethal injection chamber’ knowing that I am innocent all the while knowing that race most likely played a part in my conviction.
What the statistics say about Americans is that we are racist and we have no problem killing those we still consider inferior and are therefore, for the most part, completely willing to let them rot in jail or killed because of our racism. It is a shame that the criminal justice system is not interested in justice enough to go the extra mile to ensure that the accused actually committed the crime. Other organizations have stepped in to attempt to right wrongs perpetrated by the criminal justice system. But how can you give someone their life back after they have spent 35 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit? Compensate them? How can we compensate those who are dead?
“Two universities have compiled a registry that revealed more than 2,000 prisoners were incorrectly imprisoned for serious crimes since 1989. The astonishing news is more than half of the newly exonerated prisoners were African American, ”
Read more about black men exonerated | AT2W on:
Shocking statistics? I only wish that I could say, “I’m shocked!”