There are several people behind bars, both state and federal for crimes they did not commit. This as information from the federal websites indicates that between 2.3 to 5 percent of the total prison population in the United States were wrongfully convicted. The 2012 statistic report for the U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the total adult prison population is over two million. This confirms that the wrongful convicted statistics is significant.
One can then agree that the real offenders are walking the streets as free citizen enjoying their civil and other rights. Many analysts agree that this does not help law enforcement when the criminal are left to walk the streets as the possibilities for them to commit an identical or different crime is increased. The analysis believes that a criminal builds up their level of confidence as they now believe they will be able to get away with the crime.
Many individuals are pondering why the number of wrongful convictions is so high. Some people are pointing fingers at the justice system and are making a lot of negative comments in this regards. But is it the justice system at fault? Is it responsible for the unacceptably high statistic in incorrect convictions?
One can admit that the justice system is created to ensure that equal rights and justice is maintained in the country. Therefore one can all so admit that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. As a result one can further assume that the justice system is not at fault for the number of incorrect convictions. Who is at fault or what is the cause will be the question on the lips of most people. Studies demonstrated that there is not a specific cause for this unmoral practice as each convict faced a unique situation.
Factors contributing to a wrongful conviction
- Fear of real criminals – There are several cases where the victim of a crime identify someone else as being their attacker due to the fact that they are afraid of the real offender/s. Reports show that in a lot of cases the offender/s are notorious which causes the victim to be afraid of them. In addition, reports also show that victims sometimes receive threats against the lives of their family members which further increase the level of fear they have for the offender/s. In a bid not to pervert the courts they often identify a different person that end up being wrongly convicted.
- Pay off – Cases are reported where individual actual receive payment to lie on the witness stand in an effort to influence the final decision of the court.
- Eye witness misidentification – A key element to any investigation is an eye witness. An eye witness by definition is an individual who was on the scene of the crime and can provide details of what happened.
- Evidence fabrication – This is an illegal practice that results in law enforcement agents creating or tampering with evidence to guide the court’s decision.
Statistics from the united state department of justice indicated that thousands of people are incorrectly imprisoned. The studies by the same body indicate that several death sentences which gets over turned due to the fact that the individuals were incorrectly convicted.
Figure 1.2 shows some reason for wrongful conviction
|Reason contributing to a conviction||wrongfully convicted statistics by percentage|
Where to find wrongfully convicted statistics
The statistic concerning incorrect convictions in most case can be found on different government websites. In addition one can also make a formal request to most of these institutions that has access to the information. Namely, the United States Department of Justice is one such organization that handles this information.
The effects of wrongly convicted statistics on the justice system
The unacceptable number of people that are incarcerated each year as reflected in the statistics does not paint a beautiful picture for the justice system. In fact this causes a lot of people to have doubts in it and in some cases sigh away from assisting them in the course of justice.
Surveys show that more that 15 percent of the American population has lost all confidence in the justice system. In fact, the statistics not only create a bad image for the system but it also highlights that the justice system is faced with various levels of difficulties, that often lead to the wrong decisions being made.
Wrongful conviction – Effect on the victims
People who suffer wrong convictions are often presented with the same problems those individuals who are guilty faces. These include employment difficulties and civil rights restrictions. When seeking employment, an applicant is required to submit a background history of him/her self to verify if there are any discrepancies that will make this individual unsuitable for employment. An individual with a criminal record regardless of what the verdict was, in most cases be considered as a person of bad character which will make it difficult for them to get a job.