How Many People are Wrongfully Convicted in the United States?

It’s a very difficult question to answer, for many reasons.  To help answer this question, we can begin by reviewing a reliable resource with data on convictions and exonerations for criminal offenses.  One such entity is the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), a joint project between several law schools.

What is the National Registry of Exonerations?

Founded in 2012, the NRE is a joint project between the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School, and Michigan State University College of Law.  The NRE works in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.

The NRE provides data on all exonerations in the United States dating back to 1989.  This means that the NRE has data on every case where a person was wrongfully convicted and jailed, but later cleared of all charges and declared innocent.

The NRE utilizes public sources of information to collect data on exonerations.  Using data from the courts and other agencies, the NRE studies all wrongful convictions that resulted in exoneration.  By analyzing the regularity, spread, reasons, and costs of exonerations, the NRE can educate the public and policymakers on the impact of wrongful convictions.

How Many People are Wrongfully Jailed in the United States Each Year?

The NRE prepares and publishes a report on exonerations each year.  To get a sense of the data, we will review the NRE’s annual reports for the last four calendar years.

As we can see from the data above, the number of exonerations has climbed each year, rising almost 100% from 2013 to 2016.

Do You Need Legal Counsel from a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you or a loved one were wrongfully arrested or convicted for ahttps://www.scheetzlaw.com/criminal-defense/drug-crimes/ criminal offense, whether it is a State or federal crime, it can be a terrifying experience.  Moreover, it can be extremely difficult to access resources and support while in jail.  In such situations, it is vital to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.  With the right legal advocate in your corner, you will be able to fight the charge and protect your constitutional rights.  Don’t become a statistic.

If you need legal representation, consider contacting the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz.  We have capably served the Iowa community since 1994.   Contact us by clicking here to leave a message on our website, call 800-450-3140 (toll free) or 319-378-7416 (toll), or send an email to ray.scheetz@scheetzlaw.com.


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I am so grateful for what Mr. Scheetz did for my cousin William J., he saved his life. And also he proved me wrong. My family and I are eternally thankful for all his efforts.

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