The ranks of those exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit increases every year, raising questions central to society’s ideas about fairness, justice, and responsibility. Sociological research can help us understand exonerees in ways that go beyond basic descriptive and journalistic accounts. If incarceration of an innocent person can be considered a sustained catastrophe, like a flood, earthquake, or other disaster with long-term consequences, we can understand the human suffering experienced by exonerees just as we do other trauma survivors.
Listen to an interview with Saundra D. Westervelt and Kimberly J. Cook on the Contexts Podcast.
learn more about the innocence project
Watch this video about how lawyers at The Innocence Project helped exonerate Herman Atkins after 12 years in prison:
- Exonerated, Freed, and What Happend: an interactive website with interview excerpts, pictures and audio clips from 137 interviews the New York Times conducted with 137 exonerated prisoners.
- PBS Frontline: What Jennifer Saw: a PBS special that "examines eyewitness error in crimes and how DNA evidence is setting the innocent free."
- Life After Exoneration: a program that assists exonerees and their family members.
Watch the trailer for the documentary, "After Innocence":