One of the biggest failures of the criminal justice system is the conviction of an innocent person. When this happens, legal entities should take all steps to correct it.
However, compensation for a wrongful conviction is severely lacking in the U.S. The Innocence Project explains that not every state offers proper reparations for such an error, which is terrible since a person can lose so much from a wrongful conviction.
Those who support wrongful conviction compensation agree that there are several categories of things a state should do. The first and probably the most important is a formal recognition of innocence, such as a statement that says the person is innocent and a mistake was made in the conviction.
Other compensation should help to make up for the losses the person has suffered, such as monetary compensation and services to help him or her reenter society. In addition, legal assistance should be a part of any compensation package to help the person clear his or her criminal record because even wrongful convictions do not come off a person’s record.
In New Jersey
Looking specifically at New Jersey and how this state handles wrongful convictions, NJ Spotlight News reports that the state is moving towards trying to provide proper compensation while also taking steps to reduce wrongful convictions.
The state has a Conviction Review Unit to review claims of innocence. If a wrongful conviction comes to light, the wronged person may receive compensation of $50,000 for every year he or she spent behind bars for the crime for which he or she was innocent.