Low-income people are disproportionately present in both the criminal justice system and wrongful convictions. A huge cause of this is the public defender system.
Public defenders—attorneys who represent people who cannot afford to hire an attorney—suffer from massive, sometimes unmanageable caseloads, and they are chronically underfunded, meaning that they are sometimes unable to consult the proper experts or conduct the necessary testing. While public defenders are some of the most dedicated and passionate advocates, they often are unable to properly represent people. In other words, poor people cannot afford justice and more easily fall victim to wrongful convictions.