National Registry of Exonerations – Annual Report 2021

EXONERATIONS. The Registry recorded 161 exonerations in 2021.

YEARS LOST TO WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT. In 2021, exonerees lost an average of 11.5 years to

wrongful imprisonment for crimes they did not commit — 1,849 years in total for 161 exonerations.

OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT. Official misconduct occurred in at least 102 exonerations in 2021. Fifty-nine homicide cases — 77% of murder and manslaughter exonerations in 2021 — were marred by official misconduct.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL EXONERATORS. Professional exonerators — Innocence Organizations (IOs) and Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs) — continued to play essential roles. Jointly, they were responsible for 97 exonerations, 60% of the total. IOs and CIUs worked together on 31 of these exonerations in 2021. IOs took part in 67 exonerations, and CIUs helped secure 61 exonerations Annual Report 2021.pdf

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

National Registry of Exonerations

About the Registry

The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.

The website for the National Registry of Exonerations is HERE

National Registry of Exonerations 2020 Annual Report is HERE