Since The Innocence Project was founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in 1992, many innocence organizations have been formed. These organizations operate independently and collaboratively. It is the collaboration that creates the Innocence Network. The mission statement of the Network reads, ”The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.” Currently there are more than 50 member organizations.
From judicial reformations to exonerations, the Innocence Network is the combination of efforts for the majority of the Innocence Projects around the world. Each project is working towards the same goal and having great success. The Innocence Network reported 22 exonerations as well as its 300th exoneration due to DNA testing in 2012. The member organizations are consistently working through different avenues in order to achieve justice for those wrongfully convicted.
The Innocence Network was established on the premise that a standardization of basic law practices as well as the meeting of a minimum criteria must be in place in order to gain the Innocence Project name. While each innocence organization is different on its own, the expansion of the Network allows for more organizations to come together in an effort to rectify an imperfect criminal justice system.
In 2012 Innocence Network Annual Report, it was noted that “While Network projects uses a wide variety of tactics to prove innocence in these cases, it is noteworthy that nearly half continue to be DNA exonerations.” IPF only accepts cases that have biological evidence that can be tested for DNA. While there are many other Innocence Network members like us, some members choose to accept non-DNA cases just as some members have sentence requirements in order for a case to be accepted. From California across the Atlantic as far as The Netherlands, the Innocence Network members have the chance to come together as different organizations as one unified voice.
To find out more about the Innocence Network, click here.