Reform in 2019

Policy reforms improve the law to identify, rectify, and prevent wrongful convictions.

Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five with Yusef's mother Sharonne Salaam (center), and New York State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (right) unveiling criminal justice reform legislative proposals at New York City Hall in October 2019. (Larry Busacca/AP for the Innocence Project)

State Policy Changes in 2019

1.  New York, Virginia, and Michigan improved rules requiring prosecutors to share evidence with defendants before a trial or plea offer.

2.  Michigan and Nevada established the statutory right to re-open a conviction based on problems with forensic science. 

3.  Connecticut, Nebraska, and Illinois passed laws to track incentivized jailhouse informant testimony and evaluate informant reliability before trial.

4.  California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia improved police practices for eyewitness identification procedures.

5.  Nevada and Oklahoma mandated electronic recording of police interrogations. 

6.  Indiana, Nevada ,and Ohio created or improved laws to financially compensate exonerated people. 

7.  Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon made more people eligible for post-conviction DNA testing.

8.  Kansas created the nation’s first closed case task force to use new DNA testing results to identify closed cases that might be wrongful convictions.

21major 2019 policy reforms passed in 17 states.
132,000people took more than 143,000 actions to change laws and stop injustice.
40states where we’re working to make change in 2020.

Looking to 2020

In 2020, we’re working in 40 states to change laws on police practices, access to courts, informant testimony, forensic evidence, accountability for prosecutors, and much more. Across the country, we’ll work with exonerated people, criminal justice stakeholders, and others to reduce the risk of wrongful conviction and improve the fairness and accuracy of the system for all.

Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation, speaking to reporters after the exoneration of Alfred Swinton in 2018. (Sameer Abdel-Khalek for the Innocence Project)

Educating the Courts

We trained judges, public defenders, forensic practitioners, scientists, and academic experts on eyewitness identification, cognitive bias, litigating false confessions, and the use of unreliable forensic evidence and testimony in court.

2,500judges, attorneys, and practitioners trained.
20major positive court rulings in eyewitness identification and false confessions.
9major positive court rulings in forensics.

Rebecca Brown, Director of Policy, unveiling criminal justice reform legislative proposals at New York City Hall in October 2019. (Larry Busacca/AP for the Innocence Project)

Across the country, we’re changing laws to create a more accurate and fair criminal legal system. Support reform in 2020.

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We changed the law for millions, and couldn’t have done it without those who spoke up alongside us for reform. See what this community accomplished in 2019.

Our Community in 2019