Why the Wrongfully Convicted Should Receive Compensation, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration to be Productive in Society

Whythe Wrongfully Convicted Should Receive Compensation, Rehabilitation,and Reintegration to be Productive in Society

Whythe Wrongfully Convicted Should Receive Compensation, Rehabilitation,and Reintegration to be Productive in Society

Thereare differing perspectives within the literature in regard to thedefinition of ‘wrongful conviction’. It is argued that a personhas experienced a “miscarriage of justice” – even if the personis guilty – when there is incorrect handling of procedures(Anderberg (2005). With others, they contend that ‘wrongfulconvictions’ involve only the innocent individuals that areerroneously convicted (Stohret al., 2013).The disagreement is definition may arise in part, especially when theterms “wrongful convictions” and “miscarriage of justice” areused interchangeably. Moreover, “miscarriage of justice” is oftenused as a generation topic, which refers to people that haveexperienced convicted innocents and procedural defects.

Wrongfulconviction is therefore used to refer to an innocent person that hasbeen convicted (McLaughlin,2015). For example, Gideon (2011) argued that the convicted innocentsare “individuals who have been put behind bars on criminal charges,and have either been tried and found guilty or pleaded guilty to thecharge” (p. 10). It is contended that when technicalities orprocedural defects are assessed within a trial, it is the unfairnessthat surrounds the individual’s arrest and conviction and not theinnocence that surrounds the accused that is being determined.Anderberg (2005) cautioned that it is not procedural defects whichshould be viewed as wrongful conviction.

Itis important to realize that United States’ criminal justice systemfor example, stresses on the importance of the terms “wrongfulconvictions”, when making decisions surrounding victims’compensation. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Justice, proving aperson’s innocence is needed since the ministers ought to beaccountable for the public expenditure. Therefore, they are cautiouswhen handling payments to the public. Gould (2008) observed thatalthough preliminary research survey has identified that the membersof the public prefer financial restitution for individuals that arewrongfully convicted.

Itis argued that members of the public should be wary if large amountsof money are paid to guilty persons released based on the proceduraldefects (Master, 2004). Therefore, the Ministry of Justice, citingcase involving “Hill vs Hamilton-Wentworth Regional PoliceServices,” is strictly about guidelines of compensation andrehabilitation. This is because according to Master (2004), “it isnot in the interest of justice to offer compensation to a person thathas committed an offense, but whose guilty is hard to prove, with allthe means of profiting from his crime’s commission” (p. 2).Today, it is hard to tell whether public involve the phrase “wrongfulconviction” with factual innocent or judicially released sense ofguilt.

McCormack(2015) in sum suggested that it could be beneficial to highlightprocedural defects or cases of technicalities differently than thosefactual innocence cases. This is because the convictions are based onwhat appears to go against the criminal justice system rhetoricrather than the innocence or guilty of individuals. Gould (2008)cautions that it ultimately misleading to have “miscarriage ofjustice” to be an overall term that includes the technicalities atthe same time factual innocence. McCormack (2015) noted that themajority of scholars in the field of knowledge differ inperspectives, with most of them having contended with the judiciaryreleasing the guilty, which should be separated from factuallyinnocent individuals.

Thepaper therefore, will examine wrongful convictions by contextualizingwhy wrongful convictions occur and how often they take place. This isdone by looking at the theoretical background where attitudes towardsthe justice system, structuration theory, and stigma will be studiedand explored. The paper will also explore structuration theory andhow the public perception towards the wrongfully convicted is felt.Subsequently, a literature review will be discussed towards thepre-conviction (factors leading to it) and post-conviction(compensation, reentry, apology, and rehabilitation). Additionally,the paper aims to answer the questions regarding issues that impactsocial institutions, aspects of the society, challenges faced by thewrongfully convicted, and existing empirical literature that indicatethe challenge.

EstimationFrequency of Wrongful Convictions

Severaldecades ago, the general perceptions were that wrongful convictionswere in rarity. According to a pioneering research that was conductedby Edwin Borchard in regard to what a local attorney had stated that“innocent individuals are not convicted. It is physicallyimpossible,” Montaldo (2015) was able to document a total of 65cases of individuals convicted wrongfully. For example, PennsylvaniaBar Institute (2010) identified over 350 cases of convicted innocentsthat were determined. Additionally, post-conviction advent of DNAtesting from early 80s until today can be acknowledged for sheddingmore light on wrongful conviction occurrences. As a result of this,people have come to the realization that these wrongful convictionsdo occur, which shifts the question from “are there occurrences ofwrongful convictions?” to “how often do they occur?”(McLaughlin,2015)

Thefrequency of wrongful convictions is posited by Pennsylvania BarInstitute (2010), which according to him has been underestimatedmajorly for two main reasons. First, these cases have not beenexposed by the overall justice system. That means the justice systemis mandated to identify and correct its own errors, in which it hasfailed terribly. Majority of these cases are brought to light byorganizations or independent individuals, rather than individuals inthe criminal justice system. The innocent organizations orindividuals continue to dedicate considerable amount of time, manpower, and finances to ensure justice is served. It is assumed thatthose individuals, who fail to seek outside assistance and governmentindependence, are more likely to remain in incarceration for a longtime.

Secondly,a large number of wrongful convictions as already mentioned cameabout as a result of applying modern forensic techniques. It wasdiscovered that it was possible to take old evidences, for example,blood, semen, and hair, and is reanalyzed by use of recent DNAtechnologies. This is done to determine of convicted persons, were asa matter of fact, innocent (Gorski, n.d). Unfortunately, DNAmaterials may only be available in small percentages in criminalcases. Therefore, while numerous wrongful convictions have since beendiscovered by use of DNA technology, other cases are available thatinvolve incarceration of innocent individuals who will less likelybenefit from the new technology because of the circumstances thatsurround their cases.

Toexpose incidences of wrongful convictions as a result of DNAtechnology application have inspired new study on convictions thatare in turn overturned without having to examine old, biologicalevidences (Gorski, n.d). Racial biasness, inadequate defenseattorneys, and overzealous police and prosecutors within the justicesystem are also a focus of high number of wrongful convictions.Machado(2014)identified 184 exoneration cases since 1990 were evidences, apartfrom DNA, were applied to declare the defendant not guilty of crimeshe or she had been wrongfully convicted. Researchers that havestudied this phenomenon claim that the known cases are only arepresentation of the “tip of an iceberg” when it comes toidentifying the exact number of wrongful convictions (Anderberg,2005).

Anumber of research studies have estimated that wrongful convictionfrequency ranges from 0.6% to as high as 19% (Gould, 2008). Taking alook at the American criminal justice, most officials posit that anapproximated 0.6% of the entire felony convicts were judgedwrongfully. Therefore, if the normal estimate of 0.6% is put intoconsideration, and there are approximated 2 million personsincarcerated in the U.S, the estimates suggest that between 20,000and 400,000 are individuals wrongfully convicted are eventuallyincarcerated (Gould, 2008). By looking at the eventual abovementionedspectrum 0.6% to 19%, which translates into over 20,000 personsincarcerated for the crime they did not commit. The research studytherefore, suggests that factually innocent conviction of people ismore prevalent that it was previously.

II.The Psychological Effects of Incarceration: On the Nature ofInstitutionalization

Theadjustment to detainment is quite often troublesome and, now andagain, makes propensities for speculation and acting that can beuseless in times of post-jail change. Yet, the mental impacts ofincarceration differ from individual to individual and are regularlyreversible. Certainly, then, not everybody who is detained isincapacitated or mentally hurt by it. Be that as it may, fewindividuals are totally unaltered or unscathed by the experience. Inany event, jail is agonizing, and imprisoned persons frequentlyexperience the ill effects of having been subjected to agony,hardship, and to a great degree atypical examples and standards ofliving and communicating with others.

Theexperimental consensus on the most adverse impacts of incarcerationis that a great many people who have done time in the best-rundetainment facilities come back to the freeworld with almost noperpetual, clinically-diagnosable mental issue as a result.(5)Prisons don`t, as a rule, make individuals &quotinsane.&quotHowever, even scientists who are straightforwardly incredulous aboutwhether the torments of detainment by and large interpret into mentalmischief surrender that, for at any rate a few individuals, jail candeliver antagonistic, dependable change.(6) And the vast majorityconcur that the more compelling, unforgiving, perilous, or generallymentally saddling the imprisonment`s way, the more noteworthy thequantity of individuals who will endure and the more profound theharm that they will incur.(7)

ThePsychological Effects of Incarceration: On the Nature ofInstitutionalization

Insteadof focus on the most great or clinically-diagnosable impacts ofdetainment, notwithstanding, I want to concentrate on the moreextensive and more unobtrusive mental changes that happen in thenormal course of adjusting to jail life. The expression&quotsystematization&quot is utilized to portray the procedure bywhich prisoners are molded and changed by the institutionalsituations in which they live. Here and there called &quotprisonization&quotwhen it happens in remedial settings, it is the shorthand expressionfor the negative mental impacts of imprisonment.(8) The procedure hasbeen concentrated widely by sociologists, clinicians, therapists, andothers, and includes an exceptional arrangement of mental adjustmentsthat regularly happen in fluctuating degrees in light of theremarkable requests of jail life. As a rule terms, the procedure ofprisonization includes the standards` consolidation of jail life intoone`s propensities for considering, feeling, and acting.

Emphasizethat these are the regular and typical adjustments made by detaineesbecause of the unnatural and anomalous states of detainee life. Thedysfunctionality of these adjustments is not &quotobsessive&quot innature (despite the fact that, in commonsense terms, they may beruinous in actuality). They are &quotordinary&quot responses to anarrangement of neurotic conditions that get to be hazardous when theyare taken to compelling lengths, or get to be constant and profoundlydisguised (so that, despite the fact that the states of one`s lifehave changed, a significant number of the once-useful yet nowcounterproductive examples remain).

Likeall procedures of slow change, obviously, this one regularly happensin stages and, every other thing being equivalent, the more somebodyis detained the more critical the way of the institutional change. Atthe point when a great many people first enter jail, obviously, theyobserve that being compelled to adjust to a regularly brutal andunbending institutional standard, denied of security and freedom, andsubjected to a lessened, trashed status and to a great degree scantymaterial conditions is distressing, disagreeable, and troublesome.

Notwithstanding,over the span of getting to be standardized, a change starts. Personscontinuously turn out to be more acclimated to the confinements thatinstitutional life forces. The different mental components that mustbe utilized to change (and, in some brutal and risky remedialsituations, to survive) turn out to be progressively &quotregular,&quotsecond nature, and, to a degree, disguised. Certainly, the procedureof standardization can be inconspicuous and hard to observe as ithappens. Subsequently, detainees don`t&quot &quotpick&quot succumbto it or not, and few individuals who have gotten to be regulated aremindful that it has transpired. Less still intentionally concludethat they are going to eagerly permit the change to happen.

Theprocedure of standardization is encouraged in cases in which personsenter institutional settings at an early age, before they have framedthe capacity and desire to control their own life decisions. Sincethere is less pressure between the establishment`s requests and theself-sufficiency of an experienced grown-up, organization continuesall the more rapidly and less dangerously with at any rate some moreyouthful detainees. Additionally, more youthful detainees have littlein the method for officially created autonomous judgment, so theyhave little if anything to return to or depend upon if and when theinstitutional structure is uprooted. Also, the more somebody stays inan organization, the more prominent the probability that theprocedure will change them. In addition to other things, theprocedure of regulation (or &quotprisonization&quot) incorporatessome or the accompanying`s majority mental adjustments:

Insteadof focus on the most great or clinically-diagnosable impacts ofdetainment, in any case, I want to concentrate on the more extensiveand more unpretentious mental changes that happen in the normalcourse of adjusting to jail life. The expression &quotorganization&quotis utilized to portray the procedure by which detainees are moldedand changed by the institutional situations in which they live. Nowand again called &quotprisonization&quot when it happens inrestorative settings, it is the shorthand expression for the negativemental impacts of imprisonment.(8) The procedure has beenconcentrated broadly by sociologists, therapists, specialists, andothers, and includes an exceptional arrangement of mental adjustmentsthat frequently happen in changing degrees in light of the phenomenalrequests of jail life. When all is said in done terms, the procedureof prisonization includes the standards` joining of jail life intoone`s propensities for considering, feeling, and acting.

Emphasizethat these are the regular and typical adjustments made by detaineesbecause of the unnatural and irregular states of detainee life. Thedysfunctionality of these adjustments is not &quotneurotic&quot innature (despite the fact that, in viable terms, they may be damagingas a result). They are &quotordinary&quot responses to anarrangement of neurotic conditions that get to be hazardous when theyare taken to amazing lengths, or get to be interminable andprofoundly disguised (so that, despite the fact that the states ofone`s life have changed, a significant number of the once-practicalhowever now counterproductive examples remain).

Likeall procedures of slow change, obviously, this one ordinarily happensin stages and, every single other thing being equivalent, the moresomebody is detained the more critical the way of the institutionalchange. At the point when the vast majority first enter jail,obviously, they observe that being compelled to adjust to afrequently cruel and inflexible institutional standard, denied ofsecurity and freedom, and subjected to a decreased, criticized statusand to a great degree scanty material conditions is upsetting,disagreeable, and troublesome.

Nevertheless,throughout getting to be standardized, a change starts. Personssystematically turn out to be more acclimated to the confinementsthat institutional life forces. The different mental systems thatmust be utilized to conform (and, in some unforgiving and unsaferemedial situations, to survive) turn out to be progressively&quotnormal,&quot second nature, and, to a degree, disguised.Undoubtedly, the procedure of organization can be inconspicuous andhard to perceive as it happens. Along these lines, detainees don`t&quot&quotpick&quot succumb to it or not, and few individuals who haveended up regulated are mindful that it has transpired. Less stilldeliberately conclude that they are going to eagerly permit thechange to happen.

Theprocedure of organization is encouraged in cases in which personsenter institutional settings at an early age, before they have shapedthe capacity and desire to control their own life decisions. Sincethere is less strain between the foundation`s requests and theindependence of an experienced grown-up, standardization continuesall the more rapidly and less hazardously with at any rate some moreyouthful detainees. Also, more youthful detainees have little in themethod for effectively created free judgment, so they have little ifanything to return to or depend upon if and when the institutionalstructure is evacuated. What`s more, the more somebody stays in anestablishment, the more noteworthy the probability that the procedurewill change them.

Inaddition to other things, the procedure of organization (or&quotprisonization&quot) incorporates some or the greater part ofthe accompanying mental adjustments:

Theadjustment to detainment is quite often troublesome and, on occasion,makes propensities for intuition and acting that can be broken intimes of post-jail alteration. Yet, the mental impacts ofincarceration change from individual to individual and are frequentlyreversible. Undoubtedly, then, not everybody who is detained isimpaired or mentally hurt by it. Be that as it may, few individualsare totally unaltered or unscathed by the experience. In any event,jail is difficult, and detained persons regularly experience the illeffects of having been subjected to torment, hardship, and to a greatdegree atypical examples and standards of living and connecting withothers.


Stigmarefers to a discrediting label, which causes the wrongfully convictedindividual to be discounted completely from the society (Machado,2014).He argues that stigma take different forms, which include blemishesof persons’ character, body abominations, and is known as tribalstigma. To put it simply, body abominations refers to physicaldeformities, which renders an individual visibly different from otherpeople. Blemishes if person’s character is those beliefs that areinferred from a well-known record for example, imprisonment, mentaldisorder, alcoholism, unemployment, and addiction (Master, 2004).Although they may not be visible enough, they ensure the individualis set apart from other individuals by linking the incarceratedperson to unfavorable characteristics.

Thereare also tribal stigmas that are associated with the nation,religious beliefs, and race, which is easy to be transmitted from onegeneration to the other. Several members of the family are affectedunder this kind of stigma. Stigma messes up a person’s socialidentity regardless of the form, which in turn reduces the victim’schances in life, which result in an unaccepting or negative world(Pennsylvania Bar Institute., 2010). Ultimately, the victims areassumed and prejudged about their overall character based on beingpart of the stigmatized group. Prejudice against these people as aresult, occurs in a way that other individuals are able to justifythe dangers that would come about.

Atother times, stigma not only affects the wrongfully convictedindividual, but also can be extended to involve persons associatedwith the challenge as well. According to Gould (2008), stigma byassociation, also known as the “courtesy stigma,” includes thosenot stigmatized being look down upon and discriminated againstbecause of the involvement with the discredited person. Eventually,people are able to devalue certain social identities due to the fearof risks labelled on them. For example, stigma by contagion as aresult of prison experience happens when some individuals avoid theincarcerated people. Gould (2008) noted that the tendency for thisissue to spread from stigmatized people to other prospectiveindividuals goes on to explain the reason why such involvement iseither terminated or avoided where it is in existence.

Empiricalliterature review pre- and post-conviction

  1. Pre-convictions

Beforelooking at the reasons why the wrongfully convicted requirecompensation, rehabilitation, and reintegration into the society, weshould first look at why triggers wrongful convictions. Study hasshown that wrongful convictions are not in isolation, and are causedby single errors (Scott,n.d).Instead, both systematic and individual factors that is not inherentto the justice system work concurrently together, resulting inwrongful convictions. Numerous factors have triggered wrongfulconvictions, which include eyewitness misidentification, falseadmissions or confessions, improper or invalidated forensic evidence,use of jailhouse informants, public pressure, bad lawyering, andclass and race bias.

Oneof the major causes of pre-convictions is the mistaken eyewitnessidentification. It is one of frequent causes of having wrongfulconvictions. It is estimated that the eyewitness misidentificationhas contributed to more than 70% of the total convicts that have beensubsequently overturned by the post-conviction DNA tests (Stohret al., 2013).The issue of eyewitness tend to be a huge problem because the issuesthat surrounds the accuracy of the victim’s identification and thehigh misidentifications frequencies. However, one big problem forthis also lies in the police reports, which rarely document certaintyof the witnesses at the exact time of identification.

  1. Post-convictions

Upontheir release, numerous exonerees stand a high chance of facingconsiderable challenges and obstacles when they rejoin societypost-exonerations. McLaughlin(2015) argued that the wrongfully convicted are frequentlyre-victimized after being exonerated since the government is likelyto offer them meaningful assistance. The exoneree’s consequences ofwrongful convictions may result in lack of job skills, poor health,feelings of anger and bitterness, unstable employment, stifled familyrelationships, and stigmatizing labels (McLaughlin,2015). Once the wrongfully convicted individuals are eventuallyreleased, these factors would lead to poverty, homelessness, socialalienation, and medication with alcohol and drugs. Therefore, whatare needed are the integration programs and services in partnershipwith the innocent projects for assisting the exonerees to rebuildtheir lives.

Impacton the Society and Social Institutions

First,counseling institutions are impacted the most and may requirealtering their approach to programs considering exonerees need to bespecially handled. The need for counselling services are suggested tomajority of exonerees because of the psychological distresses theyhave. Their psychological distresses include readjusting to their dayto day lives after post-convictions because of fear of publicsetting. This issue becomes a challenge to the institution becausepervasive issues are reported about their family and socialrelationships (Montaldo, 2015). It may take a considerable amount oftime for these exonerees to accept to be closer to people. Counselorsthemselves may find it hard when their clients find it hard to copewith extensive changes outside the prison walls.

Changesin the society are likely to be experienced when individualsincarcerated at a younger age are released to the public. Serviceswill have to be provided to assist these exonerees back to their oldrelationships. This will also help families come into terms witheffects of wrongful convictions on people closer to them, whilemending broken relationships (Master, 2004). In the end, theseexonerees would require no resources that would help them deal withtheir psychological ramifications as a result of wrongful conviction.Putting into consideration the above identified experiences, it isrecommended that post-conviction services be altered and improvedregardless of the challenges faced in order to assist the victimsadjust well to their new experiences, while providing assistance tobroken societal relationships.

Interm of finances, the society is affected as far as trial issues areconcerned. For example, public offenders are assigned to thoseindividuals who are unable to afford to finance their legalrepresentation. According to Stohret al. (2013),80% of people charged are unable to afford payment of legal fees, andare assigned to a public defender or lawyer (Stohret al., 2013).This comes with a lot of challenges since public defenders areunderpaid, inexperienced, overworked, and rarely matches thedefendant demands. For instance, cases have emerged ofcourt-appointed attorneys falling asleep inside the court rooms.Additionally, it present numerous challenges from societal point ofview considering application of deadlines may forfeit the client’sview of post-conviction as just another reason to stay away fromfamily and friends.

Housing:Anotheraspect of the housing that is likely to be impacted by wrongfulconvictions is the issue of housing. Similarly to employment, oncethe wrongfully convicted individuals are likely to experiencechallenges once they are released (Machado,2014).Considering criminal records are not expunged automatically, theywould most likely find it difficult to find affordable housing. Thisis because whether they are innocent or not, the society refuses toallow them into the societal wings just yet. If the exonerees forinstance have no friends or family, they would likely be forced toseek shelter elsewhere, which is difficult.

Impacton the Criminal Justice System

Contraryto study on the loss of hope and faith in the justice system, peoplein the society felt that apologies from the public would affectcriminal justice system positively. It is believed that the justicesystem by apologizing would keep the system honest. For example,McLaughlin(2015) observed that issuing an apology guaranteed effort andaccountability of the section of the criminal justice system.Wrongful conviction impacts on the justice system to issue apologiesto the public, which according to Scott(n.d),believed that these apologies showed the human side of the criminaljustice system. As Master (2004) reiterates, it tells a lot to thesociety on how we are all prone to making mistakes.

Again,continuing with the same effect on the justice system, the societyfeels that public apologies helped in encouraging the system to sortout its problems. For example, apologies from the justice systemdemonstrate that there are changes taking place, which would promptthe system to be more careful in the future. Additionally, it shouldbe in a position to make mistakes, especially by becoming morecareful and vigilant. When it comes to issuing public apology, thejustice system will be prompted to learn from its past mistakes,whereby Master (2004) believed that it will help revolutionized theentire system. The statement appears to be in corroboration withstructuration theory, whereby institutional change may be set inmotion with the realization that obstacles exist within the system.

Impacton the General Public

Wrongfulconviction has an impact on the general public. For instance,individuals believing in the justice system would fail to restoretheir lack of faith and trust in the criminal justice system.Wrongful convictions, according to Innocence Project(n.d)help the society in realization all are humans and that makingmistakes from the justice system is inevitable. Impact on the publicis the lack of confidence on the system and lack of trust on thewrongfully convicted.

Inaddition, the society would feel that if individuals’ innocence isproclaimed and is confirmed by the government or the media, thesociety would eventually become more comfortable with the wrongfullyconvicted return to the society. By issuing a public apology, thewrongfully convicted are relieved from the onus of self-explanation(Master, 2004). Interestingly, study shows that the exonerees aremostly likely to acknowledge the justice system’s apology. Theexonerees, beyond their own demands, would want an apology to showthe public that also the justice system is vulnerable in makingmistakes.


Withstigmatization towards wrongfully convicted in the society, thefamily of the wrongfully convicted are in turn stigmatized.Stigmatization, according to Machado(2014),is a consequence of what the family would go through by having awrongfully convicted is around them. The wrongfully convicted beingpart of the society, are impacted through association of a criminalrecord since it affected them mentally and emotionally. Duringpost-conviction, when the victim is released into the society, theyend up being judged because of the criminal record.

Accordingto a study carried out by Stohret al. (2013),when participants were asked whether they would find it comfortablebeing with the exonerees, most of them appeared to be pro-exoneree.They stated that they would find it hard and uncomfortable beingaround the wrongfully convicted individuals. In addition, while a fewparticipants discussed stigma, one of the individuals discussedstigma by going as far as admitting to his stigma biasness. It istherefore easy to suggest that even though a single participant wasupfront with their stigma remarks. The other participant was stillaware of the stigma and exhibited the stigma through indirect throughthe comments.

Whythe wrongfully convicted should be compensated

Gould(2008) caution that financial compensation is required to restore thewrongfully convicted to what is termed as their “pre-convictionfinancial status”. Financial compensation for example, is importantsince it may offer self-sufficiency and exonerees’ dependence. Ofthe prejudices discussed earlier, the wrongfully convicted afterbeing released into the society, they may find themselves strainedfinancially and not depend on others. From the monetary point ofview, compensation will be able to assist the exonerees with somethings as purchasing a car, buying a home, going back at school orstarting a business.

Exonereesshould be compensated as a symbol of recognition for the wrong doingthey have done to them. A lot of wrongly convicted personsacknowledge that money is unlikely to restore their lives back to theway it is. Exonerees should also be compensated as a reason forclosure. This is whereby the system assumes a certain responsibilitylevel for what had earlier been done to them (Gould, 2008). It issuggested that offering compensation surrenders that no justicesystem is perfect or close to it. Compensation represent a way thatgovernment has recognized the amount of harm inflicted, and is a waythat fosters the process of healing and assures the public that thejustice system is now willing accept the mistake.

Unfortunately,the current compensation to wrongfully convicted individuals isinsufficient. According to Scott(n.d),as of June 2012, not more than half of those wrongfully convicted hadreceived compensation. Moreover, those within compensation statutes,disqualifications and limitations exist, which can disqualifyexonerees from being given reparation. 14 statutes for example, whichrepresent 46.5% of the total exonerees in the United States, haverestrictions and limitations on the kind of crime which could alsopresent eligibility for the convicted (McLaughlin,2015). Additionally, 71.5% of the statutes have experienced onedisqualification, while some have more than five. For instance,wrongfully convicted persons are seen to have contributed greatly fortheir conviction for example, pleading guilty, falsely confessing,and therefore are denied any form of compensation.

Reasonsfor compensation may also suffer a number of obstacles. Study oncompensation discusses typical aforementioned topics such as theexonerees struggling to be compensated and the nature of healing.However, research study from public opinion perspective is veryminimal. In the end, even though monetary compensation may beimportant for offering vindication feelings and independence, itfails to offer solutions to some issues due to the time lost while inprison. Their inability to secure proper housing, permanentemployment, and unstable social relationships (Stohret al., 2013),are some of the reasons. From the above, they give reasons whycompensation services should be carried out since they help tofacilitate better integration when monetary compensation is added.

Inof proving them innocent, the wrongfully convicted individuals whenthey are exonerated face profound difficulties in the society.Failure to compensate them presents an added insult to injury.According to Machado(2014),society as a whole has an obligation to provide prompt compassion byassisting the wrongfully convicted through other immediate servicesother than money. These services include support financially, toassist them on basic necessities such as food and transportation.This assistance will help them secure affordable housing, medicalcare, workforce skills, education, and legal services for obtainingpublic services.

Whywrongfully convicted individuals should be rehabilitated

Itshould be noted that harms accompanied by wrongful conviction arehard to understand or are fully compensated. Stohret al. (2013)noted that further studies have shown psychological effects on thewrongfully convicted require rehabilitation. This is because apartfrom these psychological effects, socioeconomic outcomes are alsosome of the reasons that make these individuals be stigmatized andemotionally deprived from the society. Additionally, perceptions ofrehabilitation among the exonerees are the impact of rehabilitationpolicies are also reasons to going forward with the process.

Forbetter understanding of the aftermath, a multidisciplinary overviewtowards the wrongfully convicted is thus necessary. Beforerehabilitation process is carried out, individual harms, which arecaused by erroneous convictions, will have to be systematically andthoroughly researched by psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists,and social workers (Scott,n.d).Examinations of rehabilitation policies should have to be handledbefore they are properly handled with care. This rehabilitationapproach will allow a multi-faceted approach, which will present adetermination of what could be termed as post-release services. Theseservices, according to Scott(n.d),should include reentry planning services, which are successful inlessening or reducing the severity obstacles and challenges of theexonerated individuals from psychological, sociological, andpsychiatric perspective. Additionally, better integrated approacheswill help address a wider range of issues, which often ranges frominterrelated economic, social, mental, and psychological healthissues experienced by the wrongfully convicted exonerees.

Whythe wrongfully convicted individuals should be integrated into thesociety after release

Afterrelease, the exonerated individuals face a lot of challenges,especially when they attempt to pull back everything they hadtogether. Parole inmates are often given a few hundred dollars thatare meant to help to get back and be integrated into the society.When wrongfully convicted individuals are released into the society,they are given no money. Pennsylvania Bar Institute. (2010) observedthat they are rarely given specific programs to assist them adapt. Inaddition to being compensated financially, there is often anagreement than compensation, apart from money, should be offered,which is the same as that received by the parolees. The services, aspart of rehabilitation process, should be made available to the exactneeds of the wrongfully convicted persons.

Inmates,according to McLaughlin(2015), oftentimes are exonerated and eventually released. Publicityand fanfare that often follows only last for a short time, and afterthat, they are abandoned with scars following numerous years offrustrations and pain. The frustrations are as a result of fightingthe justice systems, which fails to acknowledge their mistakes andrarely offer apologies. A rehabilitation process should be carriedout for these exonerees. This is because some of them have beenincarcerated since they were young, and grew up literally in the coldand in an unyielding correctional facility (Montaldo, 2015).Subsequently, even though majority of the exonerated individuals posean unfathomable determination, heart, and courage, in assuming thatthey will have the psychological muster and skills to maneuverthrough life unassisted, then they are naïve at its best.

Policyand Practice Recommendations

Servicesneeded by the exonerees: McLaughlin(2015) argued that as part of recommend processes, the exonerees needto be offered meaningful and important services for example,employment training for two main reasons. The first one would repaythem for the injuries experienced due to incarceration for instancetheir loss of family ties. Secondly, it is recommended that theservices required will assist them to integrate smoothly back thesocietal normality (Innocence Project,n.d).To recommend all this is because these exonerees are not given thebenefit of time to prepare well for their release while they arestill locked up. They are therefore unlikely to have had anopportunity to participate on some programs or work-release, which isgeared towards reentry process.

Numerousreintegration programs should be designed in order to deal withoffender categories for example, drug-addicted offenders, those withmental illnesses, and chronic sex offenders. By coming up with suchprograms, transition processes will be easy to execute. According toMcCormack (2015), majority of exonerees have in the past complainedon the issue of going back to the society without having thenecessary tools to assist them in integrating into the society.Additionally, even when the wrongfully convicted may face theseissues, they are less supported and such programs will assist them inrelieving them of their social and legal burden.

Employmentopportunities: Becauseof licensing requirements and occupational policies, theseindividuals with possible arrest records could be excluded explicitlyfrom getting employment opportunities. Machado(2014)cautioned that it is important to note that even when an exoneree isreleased from detention, it does not necessarily mean that his or hercriminal record has been cleared. It is therefore recommended that anawareness program is aggressively carried out in order to ensure thatmembers of the public and possible employers do not find it hard toemploy them.

Again,the government should ensure that these exonerees are cleared oftheir criminal records before they are released. This will guaranteetheir smooth reintegration into the society that had initiallyrefused to absorb them. Master (2004) gave an example of ButlerSabrina who experienced tremendous difficulties trying to gain worthyemployment in her town of Mississippi. This was because after she hadbeen absorbed into a certain job, her employment opportunity wasquickly terminated since her manager came across her criminalrecords.

Communitypreparations: Similarto when exonerees are released into the society, they encountersuspicion, lack of trust and acceptance, and fear from members of thecommunity. For some of them, their return to the society may not bepublicized and thus remain under the radar (Machado,2014).However, their release may eventually catch eye of the public or themedia considering they have refuted conviction from the justicesystem.

Thusit is recommended that there has to be an introduction of whatInnocence Project(n.d)term as “community reintegration forums,” which will assist inpreparing the communities in embracing these exonerees. These forumswill be mandated in educating the community by providing relevantinformation about the criminal justice system, how errors may resultin wrongful convictions, and about the administration. By ensuringexonerees’ reintegration are fostered in the communities, it willhelp encourage members of the community to loosen up and be moreaccepting, especially in issues such as housing, social integration,and finding employment opportunities.

Counsellingprograms:There is recommended need for counseling programs considering thosewrongfully convicted often show psychological distress, especiallywhen they attempt to readjust to post-incarceration life.Additionally, pervasive issues have also been realized when it comesto their social life (Gould, 2008). It is recommended that counselingprograms should be given as part of the program aimed at integratingthem into the society. Counseling programs will help them back totheir old relationships with their families, while fighting withacceptance issues.

Ultimately, wrongfully convicted persons are presented with noresources to handle psychological ramifications that would come theirway as a result of their convictions. Putting into considerations theabove experiences, it is recommended that there should bepost-exoneration services (Anderberg, 2005). These services shouldinclude psychological counseling that would oversee the exonereesadjust well into their new environment, while offering themassistance on affected social relationships.

Compensation:thisis meant to restore their original financial status before they werewrongfully convicted. It is recommended that they get fullcompensation, both monetary and otherwise, which would offer a senseof independence and self-sufficiency. Monetary compensation, asdiscussed above, will help exonerees in starting a business or havingbetter housing. Unfortunately, the current compensation program inthe United States for example, is insufficient (Gorski, n.d). TheUnited States compensation statutes for instance, require to bealtered to accommodate better pay. There are also limitations thatrequire to be examined since it prevents the exonerees from beinggiven reparation. The inconsistency of the compensation statutes alsoneeds to be reexamined to ensure awards are granted whenever theyapply.

Moststates do not have a better method of repaying and rehabilitating theexonerees. This is because there are no requirements or legalobligation put in place which ensures the wrongfully convictedindividuals undergo proper rehabilitation. Gorski (n.d) observed thatin some states, exonerees, once they are released, are not guaranteedproper form of reintegration. Even when awards are given, theservices are minimal furthermore, the whole process comprises of apolicy that consist of strict regulations, which should be followedby individuals qualified to receive reparation.

Expungementmay act in whole or partly as a kind of proxy for some other factorsthat would reduce post-exoneration risks. The health in general andaccess to health services are some of the examples. Gideon (2011)showed that documented prisoners’ problems of health have becomewidely documented. 2% and 3% of inmates, according to the statisticsare HIV positive, a rate, which is five times higher than that of thepublic population. Inmates are entitled to proper health care, butbecause they are often denied proper access to technological advancedtechniques of diagnosis, trained specialists, procedures, and latestmedications.

Finally,health consequences have led to the exonerees to be termed as“developmentally frozen.” This is because these consequences maycontinue, for instance mental illnesses and other mental disorders,would require proper and well-implemented health care services thatwill oversee better treatment and quick recovery (Anderberg, 2005).And since employment represent a pathway to better health care, andconsidering expungement is also meant for better employment, itshould thus be noted that expungement benefits should be guaranteed,which should be driven towards giving exonerees better access tohealth care.


Wrongfulconvictions have continued to receive a lot of attention from thepublic, and have in turn received growing demand aimed at preventingand delineating criminal justice. The paper gave an introductoryoutlook on the definition of “wrongful conviction” and itsfrequency by contextualizing how wrongful convictions are and oftenoccur. This was followed by the attitudes and stigma explored as partof the effects of wrongful convictions. This led to few insights inregard to public wrongful convictions and perceptive responses ingeneral. Wrongful conviction was defined as different perspectives ofhow researchers argue consider it a “miscarriage of justice” tomean “wrongful conviction”.

Othersare contended that the wrongfully convicted are only those innocentindividuals that are erroneously convicted. Lasting repercussions andconsequences of wrongful convictions are extensive, individualized,and complex, which end up affecting psychological, physical, andsocial aspects. Exonerated individuals, being part of a plan thatrequire assistance and once they are released and integrated back tothe societal, could be successful in seeking compensation to ensurefacilitation and transition of the damages likely to be faced. Someof the programs that would ensure the exonerees are handled welltowards integrating them into the society. These programs are relatedwith money, housing, proper health care, and counseling services.Again, these programs are recommendations following poorly structuredstatutes of most states. The statutes do not favor compensationprocesses aimed at assisting the exonerees.


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