According to a study released by the researchers In Michigan and Pennsylvania, more than 4 percent of inmates sentenced to death row in the U.S. are innocent.
The article, “Rate of False Conviction of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced to Death” — was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
That means innocent people are languishing behind bars, according to the study.
“The great majority of innocent people who are sentenced to death are never identified and freed,” said Samuel Gross, lead author of the study and a University of Michigan Law School professor, in a statement. “The purpose of our study is to account for the innocent defendants who are not exonerated.”
The four authors reviewed the outcomes of the 7,482 death sentences handed down from 1973 to 2004. Of that group, 117, or 1.6 percent, were exonerated.
But with enough time and resources, the authors concluded that at least 4.1 percent of death row inmates would have been exonerated. In other words, more than 200 other prisoners would have been cleared during those three decades.
The student highlights a serious flaw in the country’s use of the death penalty. The researchers refer to the percentage as a “conservative estimate.”
It seems like there’s more information leading to injustice within our prison system. How do we go about correcting things like this?
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