Exonerated Defendants Lost 25,000 Years to Wrongful Imprisonment

Exonerated defendants have collectively served over 25,000 years in prison as of June 1, according to a report released by The National Registry of Exonerations (NRE). Black defendants were imprisoned more frequently and for more time than white defendants, the report found.

The NRE, which has reported every known exoneration in the U.S. since 1989, called the latest tally a “dark milestone” in its perennial assessments of wrongful convictions. The new figure represents a significant increase since 2018, when the NRE calculated a total loss of 20,000 years.

The most recent report lists 2,795 exonerations, with each exoneree serving an average of eight years and 11 months, and it includes dozens of defendants exonerated since 2018 who spent over 25 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

Some 55 percent of exonerees haven’t received any compensation for their incarceration, according to research conducted by Jeffrey Gutman of the George Washington University Law School.

Still, the report represents an incomplete picture of exoneration and compensation.

Get the report HERE

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