Half of All Falsely Convicted Prisoners Are Black

A new database puts sobering numbers behind what many say is a disproportionate number of African-Americans wrongly convicted each year.

Posted: 05/21/2012 10:39 AM EDT

For decades, many in the African-American community have been talking about the disproportionate number of Blacks who are wrongly convicted each year, and now a new database compiled by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law confirms the suspicions with a shocking statistic. The Associated Press writes:

The database compiled and analyzed by the researchers contains information on 873 exonerations for which they have the most detailed evidence. The researchers are aware of nearly 1,200 other exonerations, for which they have less data.

They found that those 873 exonerated defendants spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison, an average of more than 11 years each. Nine out of 10 of them are men and half are African-American.

Nearly half of the 873 exonerations were homicide cases, including 101 death sentences. Over one-third of the cases were sexual assaults.

DNA evidence led to exoneration in nearly one-third of the 416 homicides and in nearly two-thirds of the 305 sexual assaults.

Researchers estimate the total number of felony convictions in the United States is nearly a million a year.”

Read the full story here.

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