Unfortunately, even a skillful criminal defense does not always lead to the acquittal of wrongfully accused and wrongfully convicted persons. Sometimes law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are not held accountable for illegal practices on their part and individuals who should otherwise be released are incarcerated.
In fact, data compiled by the highly esteemed advocacy group the Innocence Project indicates that as many as 110,000 individuals are currently wrongfully incarcerated. That translates practically to nearly 5 percent of the current prison population. Some of these individuals are completely innocent of wrongdoing and even more should have had their charges dropped due to having certain rights infringed upon during the investigation and prosecution of their cases.
It is critical that the justice system operates in a fair and predictable way. Otherwise, similarly situated individuals will have no idea whether or not they will be prosecuted or granted their rightful release at any given time. Judges, lawmakers and concerned advocacy groups should give the problem of wrongful incarceration in America the urgent attention it deserves. Such attention will benefit both those directly affected by the trend and the health of the system as a whole.
Source: Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, “OP-ED: The U.S. Wrongfully Incarcerates More Than 50,000 Citizens,” John Lash, Oct. 4, 2013