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Report: Up to 6% of the prison population is innocent

Posted by Bulldog Law | May 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

The justice system is not perfect. However, it is set up to err on the side of allowing guilty parties to go free to avoid convicting innocent individuals. This is why criminal cases have such a high standard of proof. Guilt has to be established beyond a reasonable doubt so that innocent people aren't locked up for things that they never did.

As a result, most people assume that the number of wrongful convictions is very small. Mistakes are going to happen, but they believe that the justice system gets it right 99% of the time.

Unfortunately, reports counter this claim, saying that the percentage of innocent people behind bars likely ranges from 4 to 6%. If so, this means that the justice system makes far more errors than many people realize, and it could mean that roughly one out of every 20 incarcerated individuals should never have been convicted in the first place.

How do we get these statistics?

Over the last few decades, it has become much easier than ever before to determine how many wrongful convictions take place. This is due, in part, to DNA evidence. It can be used to exonerate people who have already been convicted, perhaps due to things like eyewitness misidentification. Researchers know that DNA evidence won't exist in all of the cases where someone should be cleared, but they can look at the rate at which this occurs to determine how many people are likely innocent.

If you are facing charges, you can see why it is so important to understand exactly what legal defense options you have. 

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