Solving the Problem
DNA has changed the criminal justice system forever – but the system has not changed enough.
The exonerations of innocent people have shown that our criminal justice system is fundamentally flawed. DNA exonerations do not solve the problem – they provide scientific proof of its existence, and they illuminate the need for reform.
Over the last 15 years, there has been a major shift in criminal justice legislation as a result of DNA exonerations. Policymakers are increasingly recognizing and addressing the problems these exonerations demonstrate – and they are beginning to enact common-sense reforms that have been proven to improve accuracy in the criminal justice system.
Reforms with Broad Support and Proven Success
The Innocence Project of Florida works with people from across the criminal justice system – including prosecutors, victims, law enforcement agencies and defense advocates – to enact meaningful reform. Improving fairness and accuracy in the criminal justice system benefits all segments of society. Victims and their families can see justice; prosecutors and police can have the tools to do their jobs well; the public can have more confidence in the system; and innocent people and their families can avoid the tragedy of wrongful convictions.
The Innocence Project’s priorities for reforming the criminal justice system reflect the lessons that have been learned from DNA exonerations over the last 15 years. These priorities also reflect the need to address fundamental shortcomings in the criminal justice system while implementing specific reforms to law enforcement procedures. All of the reforms that the Innocence Project and its partners advocate have been proven to increase the accuracy of the criminal justice system, often through decades of scientific research. The reforms that can address and prevent wrongful convictions include:
- Eyewitness Identification Reform
- False Confessions
- Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testing
- Evidence Preservation
- Crime Lab Oversight
- Criminal Justice Reform Commissions (‘Innocence Commissions’)
- Exoneree Compensation
Some of these recommended reforms have already met with success.
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