Letter from the Executive Director
“Why does it take so long to get an innocent person out of prison?”
We hear that question a lot. In this issue
of NCIP’s quarterly newsletter, we try to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into getting an innocent person exonerated: the frustrating search for documents, the painstaking investigations, the heartbreaking witness interviews, the detailed research and the often-contentious litigation. On average, it takes more than 11 years to free someone wrongfully convicted. The costs are enormous – both in terms of actual legal and investigative costs borne by NCIP and partner law firms working on an exoneration, and also in terms of the wasted money spent by taxpayers in keeping an innocent person in prison for years. The human cost and emotional trauma for the client and his/her family is the highest of all and impossible to quantify.
As you read the newsletter, you will also learn about NCIP’s efforts to confront and remedy these challenges – by changing the way that new evidence may be used to prove innocence in California (a huge legislative victory and a game-changer for our clients); by holding restorative justice healing circles, to aid healing and assist exonerees and their families in moving forward; by zealously advocating for clients like Domingo Bustos Anaya, who has been sitting in prison for more than 20 years, waiting to be exonerated and set free.
There can be few things worse than being locked up in prison for a crime you did not commit. Please help us free the innocent and change the system
so that it doesn’t take a decade or more to fix mistakes and free people. Your support is crucial to our success. As you begin to consider end-of-year gifts, I hope you will give generously to support NCIP.
Thank you for all you do to support us so that we can free others.