Prisoner Exonerations Hit a Record High Last Year

Last year alone, 125 people were exonerated for crimes that the American legal system had once found them guilty of committing. It’s the highest ever number since exoneration rates were first recorded in 1989. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, it’s the first time the number of people found to have been wrongly convicted has ever been in triple digits in one year.

One of the most concerning things that the numbers revealed is that 47 of the individuals freed from prison had pled guilty to the crimes they were charged with, either because of pressure from prosecutors or because they were presented with evidence against them that ended up being inadmissible or incorrect . As The Guardian notes, “Police field drug testing kits are notoriously unreliable, so much so that their results are not accepted as evidence in criminal trials.” Experts believe the soaring number of exonerations for innocent prisoners is largely due to the rise in “conviction integrity units,” teams of legal experts that work to identify when innocent people are wrongfully convicted …

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