The word “innocent in the criminal justice system” is often mentioned when one individual is telling another individual about someone they know who did not commit a crime individual have been accused of. When an individual innocent is exonerated for being wrongfully convicted, he or she gets the public’s sympathy - which they should - but those individuals who are seeking help to prove theirs get ignored.
To allow someone you know is innocent to linger in on the slave prison plantations for years or decades is callous. It is not right to protect the guilty and keep the innocent individual from receiving justice. It is much easier to keep the truth to yourself than tell it, but the truth can set an innocent - individual free. Let the truth prevail, and show - empathy toward others as you would want it shown toward you.
Crime is obviously being committed everywhere, not because we live in a lawless society, but because we have those individuals who look on and say or do nothing. It is said that the average individual in prison claims to be innocent. That may or may not be true, but that idea makes those on the outside skeptical of giving assistance to those individuals who are actually innocent.
This may be the reason why some law college students created a new standard of innocence. To be eligible, your case must fit their ideal of innocence; and if your case does not fit their criteria, you are denied assistance.
There are many individuals in prison who were not the actual perpetrator of the crimes they are accused of, but who were found guilty by association or conspiracy. Does that make them innocent or guilty? Then you have those who were in no way associated with the crime they are accused of, but were found guilty solely due to fabricated eyewitness testimonies. Does that qualify them as actually innocent? Like so many, I fit the latter narrative, but was denied because my innocence did not fit their criteria of being innocent. Life in prison for an innocent person is psychological torture - an inescapable nightmare because he encourage obstacles in his path that reminds him of his innocence.
The Advisory Committee of Wrongful Convictions reported “many defendants have been punished for a crime they did not commit. No innocent individual should be punished for a crime they did not commit, but the courts had confidence in the testimony of eyewitnesses. Many defendants cannot afford a private attorneys, therefore had to rely on overworked public defenders or court appointed attorneys.
To recognize a problem and not correct it only allows it to continue.
Being innocent in prison does not necessarily make a individual guilty. The fact is, you will always have those who are innocent, and those are not.
Being innocent is being blameless. Being innocent is being guiltless. Being innocent is being free. Being innocent is me!
Minister Khalil Shabazz Muhammad
Mr. Dewayne Lee Harris [ID]
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.