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No apology, no compensation, no longer: New law helps wrongly convicted rebuild lives

Apr 3, 2017

Just try to imagine how it would feel to be accused of a crime. Wrongfully accused. You didn't do it. But you're convicted and sent to prison.

Then, miraculously, you get another shot and your innocence is proven.

You're released with absolutely no compensation, and no help re-entering the world outside of those prison walls.

That was the case in Michigan until just last week when Public Act 343 took effect. With that, Michigan became the 32nd state to provide exonorees with compensation for time served.

David Moran is co-founder of the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan. He joined Stateside to explain the new law.

"It's like a lot of other states' compensation laws in that it provides a flat amount of money for each year of wrongful incarceration in a state prison for people who have had their convictions overturned because of new evidence of actual innocence and who can then go to court, in this case, the Court of Claims in Lansing, and establish their innocence," Moran said. 

That flat amount equates to $50,000 in tax-free money for every year behind bars.

Since 1990, more than 2,000 people have been found to have been wrongfully convicted, with 69 of those occurring in Michigan. 

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about the new law, the criteria that needs to be met to receive compensation, and why this bill took eight years to finally be passed.

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