chapter  13
21 Pages

Life After Exoneration: Examining the Aftermath of a Wrongful Capital Conviction

BySaundra D. Westervelt, Kimberly J. Cook

They have been fi ghting for this moment for years, often decades-the moment they walk out of prison a free person. They were wrongly convicted of horrifi c crimes. They have been incarcerated and labeled as among America’s most dangerous-robbers, rapists, murderers, monsters. They have told countless others-family, friends, coworkers, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, juries, judges, inmates-that they did not commit these heinous crimes. No one listened. On this day, fi nally, someone listened. They emerge into the fresh air no longer convicted felons but exonerees: innocent individuals wrongly convicted and exonerated. They leave prison fi lled with joy and hope, relief and anticipation. They walk out . . . and then what?