The Innocence Project Has Freed Many People and Has Given Them a New Chance at Life
Year after year innocent men and women are imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. Shockingly, many have spent 20 or more years in prison as a result of wrongful convictions. Fortunately, the Innocence Project has re-investigated many cases and has been able to achieve freedom for many who have been unjustly incarcerated.
Many prisoners freed as a result of the work of the Innocence Project have been exonerated as a result of DNA testing, or discovery of exculpatory evidence that had been withheld from the defense team.
There is no reason to be confident that every unjustly convicted prison has been freed. Undoubtedly, many people unjustly remain behind bars, and even suffer on Death Row. The Innocence Project, and their allies in the legal system (including some enlightened prosecutors), have documented hundreds of cases where prisoners have been incarcerated unjustly, only to be freed many years later.
We can be very thankful for the work of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit association that helps innocent inmates who are falsely incarcerated due to faulty scientific testing and suppression of exculpatory evidence. Inmates who are assisted by the Innocence Project have been able to get DNA evidence re-tested and re-investigated. As a result, not only have innocent people been freed but deep flaws in our legal system have been exposed, leading to sorely needed reform. That being said, we have a long way to go before our legal system is truly just.
Here is one example of the important work of the Innocence Project. Joseph Abbit had served 14 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. Mr. Abbit was accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls at knifepoint in their own home. Mr. Abbit’s conviction arose from faulty eyewitness testimony, which is responsible for the conviction of many innocent people. Once, it was thought that eyewitness identification testimony is highly reliable; modern science has established that is not so. In the case of Mr. Abbit, although the victims did not entirely see their attacker’s face, they believed Abbit to be the closest in appearance to their attacker. Mr. Abbit’s conviction was not supported by a single shred of DNA evidence; however, the eyewitness testimony alone was enough to have Abbit sentenced to serve more than 110 years in prison. Due to the dedicated work of an Innocence Project allied organization known as the “North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence”, Mr. Abbit was able to regain his freedom by newfound DNA testing being carried out on the few pieces of evidence left from the crime scene that established that Mr. Abbit had no involvement in the crimes for which he was convicted.
Any society that claims to have a legal system that provides any form of justice must adopt safeguards to ensure that innocent people such as Mr. Abbit are not wrongfully incarcerated. We invite readers of this blog to look further into the work of the Innocence Project, which can be easily accessed at www.innocenceproject.org.