It has been estimated that approximately 2–4 percent of incarcerated people in the United States have been wrongfully convicted. Although that would be equivalent to ten thousands of innocent persons, only a small group of them have been released from prison after DNA tests or other evidence ruled them out as perpetrators of the crimes they were convicted for. Of the 3,215 people who have been exonerated from prisons in the United States since 1989, Black individuals made up about half of them. Although Black, Indigenous, and people of color are overrepresented in crime coverage overall, our own research has found that they are underrepresented in newspaper coverage focusing specifically on exoneration cases. Similarly, in podcasts that focus on wrongful convictions, Black and other people of color are underrepresented in many cases.

This chapter examines the relationship between race and injustice narratives in true crime podcasts. Of the numerous podcasts in the genre of true crime, some are dedicated to telling the stories of those who were wrongfully incarcerated, including Actual Innocence and Wrongful Convictions. Others, like Serial and Undisclosed, question the validity of various convictions and explore the possibility of the subjects being innocent. While some, like Wrongful Convictions, lack balanced racial representation among the exoneration cases covered overall, others fall short in more subtle ways, such as dedicating less attention to details or time to telling the stories of black individuals than they do of other races.