Being young is a time for mistakes and successes along with a carefree attitude; no one should ever have this experience taken from them, especially when it involves a wrongful conviction. Unfortunately many people have suffered at the hands of an imperfect criminal justice system. Not only have these wrongful convictions affected the lives of these men and women, but also their families as well as those of us who care about the justice system. William Dillon and James Bain are only 2 of 302 people who have been exonerated using DNA testing nationwide; these men featured in Unlock the Truth are incredible human beings who faced overwhelming odds and came out of prison grateful rather than bitter.
If you have never watched Unlock the Truth, please take the time now.
My personal reaction to Unlock the Truth is difficult to explain. As a senior in college, I am 21 years old with much ahead of me in the coming years. It continually rings in my head, “I loved the parties and chasing the pretty girls.” This should have been the only worry in William Dillon’s mind; yet he was faced with a life sentence for a murder he did not commit at the young age of 22. James Bain was only 19 when he was wrongfully convicted of rape and kidnapping; the lives of these young men were taken away for crimes neither of them committed.
I think about the dilemmas I face in my life and how trivial each and every one is compared to what William and James faced when they were my age. I can’t imagine the confusion, the anger or the hopelessness. The accounts of their incarceration as well as the toll it took on their families was the most emotional part of Unlock the Truth. William Dillon’s father questions, “What did I do wrong as a dad?” just as James Bain’s sister claims, “Every time we went to see him, I would go but I didn’t want to go because I knew he wasn’t coming back.” The struggle and strife these families endured is painful and understanding the unnecessary pain is challenging. Fortunately these families were reunited after decades lost.
Organizations such as the Innocence Project of Florida and all of the innocence projects around the world give the wrongfully convicted hope. Dillon repeats, in his account, as tears roll down his face, “I thank them very much because without them, it won’t happen, it won’t happen, it won’t happen.”
The process of exoneration is a long and daunting task; however without the persistence and the perseverance of those who working to correct these injustices, Dillon is right – “it just won’t happen.” From attorneys and legal interns to volunteers and fundraisers, every person has the ability to help unlock the truth for the wrongfully imprisoned.
Let us know what you thought after watching Unlock the Truth.