Test your knowledge…
1. How many exonerations have there been since 1989?
2. How many exonerations were there in 2013?
3. How many DNA exonerations since 1989?
4. Which state has had the most exonerations since 1989?
5. How many exonerations came from that state?
Start a Conversation…
- Have you ever been aware of the existence of wrongful convictions before now?
As you can see, I purposely redirected the aim of my questions. After some thought I decided they are irrelevant if there is no understanding of the issue to begin with. I ponder the new question which begs for answers every time I write a letter to a wrongfully convicted person. I’ve been told by some of these people that although they did not feel they were very nice before this happened, they were never concerned about going to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. They trusted the system like everyone else and before they’d become one of its victims, would’ve replied with a resounding “no” to the question at hand.
What surprised me is that some of them have truthfully admitted that if they had not been the one targeted, they would more than likely have been among those eager to believe that whoever was, probably did commit the crime. But because of what has happened to them, they now see things as they truly are.
Since I started asking that question about wrongful convictions five years ago I’ve a pretty good grasp on what the majority of people will answer. Still, for your sake, I’d like you to think about asking a few of your friends. Get a conversation going about your knowledge of this country’s flawed system. Then decide if you can understand why wrongful convictions have happened repeatedly in our society for decades. I’ll be honest; I was clueless about it. I thought that everyone in prison must be guilty. I never thought about whether or not the authorities might make a mistake. I trusted that the truth prevails and that we are all safer as a result.
Now, I’m sure my knowledge has caused scepticism, cynicism and bias that leans heavily toward error on the part of the authorities. I cannot watch a crime news story without extreme scrutiny and it drives me crazy to see the faces of the accused plastered all over the news before charges have even been filed. What I’ve decided I must do is to look at the facts first and reserve judgment for later…period. I wonder how many of us wait until all of the information has been disclosed before our verdicts are in.