chapter  1
An Introduction to Innocence Reform
ByJulia Carrano, Marvin Zalman
Pages 13

In his introduction to this volume, Professor Jon Gould, a leading expert on wrongful convictions, skillfully outlines what is known about miscarriages of justice and the innocence challenge. The existence of wrongful convictions is no longer in doubt, and studies show alarmingly high rates of error that translate into thousands of innocent people convicted of felonies annually. Despite this knowledge, little has been done by the criminal justice system to rectify such injustices, although reform efforts are beginning to occur. Mostly, it has been left to independent researchers and a few innocence projects to call attention to this serious problem. Hopeful signs of change in American criminal justice agencies, like the growing adoption of more accurate identification procedures, videotaping interrogations, or rationalizing post-conviction inquiry procedures, can be counterbalanced by examples of resistance to change. Other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom have been more proactive than American jurisdictions in implementing criminal justice reforms, and in this country the concern surrounding wrongful convictions pales in comparison with the attention paid to identify and reduce the risk of harm in other fields, such as air travel or medicine.