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Innocent Inmate Compensation

WHEREAS, the Innocence Project has reported that over the past 20 years, 362 people previously convicted of serious crimes in the United States were later exonerated by DNA testing, and twenty of those persons had been sentenced to death; and

WHEREAS, approximately 70% of the persons exonerated of serious crimes are members of racial and ethnic minority groups; and

WHEREAS, in light of the extremely high rate of incarceration in the United States, tens of thousands of innocent individuals have likely been convicted of crimes and served time in our nation's federal and state prisons; and

WHEREAS, when released from prison, these innocent victims are often homeless and destitute, and in 21 states, the system that caused this injustice does not guarantee any form of compensation to those persons; and

WHEREAS, Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by the United States, requires compensation to persons wrongfully convicted of crimes under certain circumstances, such as when a conviction is reversed because later acquired evidence demonstrates conclusively that the person did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP will advocate for the implementation throughout the United States of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through a national Innocent Inmate Compensation Act that would compensate innocent inmates who are wrongfully convicted because of failures in the criminal justice system, and through state legislation requiring such compensation in those states that do not currently require same.