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Booktalking "Anatomy of Innocence" by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger

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Antoine Day, a newly exonerated man, was dropped off by corrections officers on a street corner in the rain in smelly clothing with no money or phone. After a dazed ten-hour stint of waiting at a bus stop, finally a friend recognized him and picked him up. He was kind enough to lend Day a phone, who immediately called his mother, saying that he would see her soon. She screamed in delight a few hours later when he actually walked into her house, a free man after years of wrongful imprisonment. He stuck to her side and love for weeks.

Exculpatory DNA evidence, false witness identification and law enforcement and legal misconduct lead to an alarming number of innocent people being put into prison for decades of their lives. This is not time that anyone can give them back, not to mention the assaults and other threats to their safety that they face on a daily basis during their incarceration. Institutionalized racism plays a part in this. Pressure by the community on the police to solve vicious crimes quickly plays a part. Sheer evil, such as that committed by the Area 2 Unit of the Chicago Police Department, plays a part in wrongful convictions.

Police interrogation techniques need to be reformed, along with court processes and prisoner living conditions. More humane methods of treating people and more effective investigative techniques, such as those used in the UK, which has a much lower prison population, should be implemented in the US. The United States is the most overincarcerated nation in world, and unsurprisingly, most of the exonerees are people of color. 

Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted by Caldwell, Laura and Klinger, Leslie, 2017

 

Books about wrongful convictions

Chicago Torture Archives

Innocence Project

 

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