The Innocence Project is a national organization that fights the wrongful conviction of individuals. Its main objectives are to help exonerate individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and bring about positive change in the criminal justice system.
The Innocence Project was started in 1992 at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. In 2004, The Innocence Project was able to become a separate nonprofit organization, but is still connected to Cardozo. Paper Masters can help you produce a custom written project on the Innocence Project.
Innocence Project and DNA Testing
The Innocence Project uses DNA testing along with private attorneys to help prove the innocence of criminals that they believe have been wrongfully convicted. Those convicted of a crime can e-mail or write to the organization and must go through an application process. The organization will only take cases that DNA testing can be performed. DNA testing is only possible in an estimated 5%-10% of all criminal cases. Each year roughly 3,000 people write to the organization seeking their assistance. It is estimated that more than 20,000 innocent people are currently behind bars in the United States.
There are several ways that people are wrongfully convicted.
- An eyewitness misidentifies a person
- Faulty forensic evidence
- Misidentification of an individual
- The misconduct of investigators is also a reason that some people are wrongfully convicted.
To date the organization has helped prove the innocence of 312 people, several of those people being on death row.
Innocence Project and Release from Prison
The Innocence Project is also working to create programs for exonerated individuals upon their release from prison. Some states have laws that allow for compensations to exonerated people. The Innocence Project is currently working to expand the number of states that offer this compensation. The project also works with individuals and helps them connect with social workers and other individuals who can help them begin to rebuild their lives.
The majority of the organization's funding comes from private donors. Other funding comes from other foundations, fund raisers, Corporations, and Cardozo Law School.