October 2 is the Eighth Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, a day to raise awareness about the causes and remedies of wrongful conviction and to recognize the tremendous personal, social, and emotional costs for directly impacted people and their families. It began in 2013 as an initiative of the Innocence Network, a coalition of 68 organizations around the world, including the Montana Innocence Project. The Network is dedicated to providing pro-bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove their innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.
Since 1989, more than 2,800 people have been exonerated in the United States after having a wrongful conviction overturned. Collectively, these individuals spent more than 25,000 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. These numbers only capture the experience of those who have successfully fought for and won full exoneration. We know that the issue of wrongful conviction is actually much larger than this. The Montana Innocence Project alone has freed seven innocent people who spent more than 100 years wrongfully incarcerated.
The harm and injustice of wrongful convictions are incalculable, and we all have a responsibility to bring the truth to light. Please join me, and thousands of people around the globe, in the fight for justice and accountability on the Eighth Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, and help hold the criminal legal system accountable by supporting the work of the Montana Innocence Project.