#Act4Innocents Campaign Page
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project works to change the criminal justice system to ensure that no innocent person gets convicted. To date, 56 men and women have been released from Pennsylvania prisons when DNA testing proved their innocence. These men collectively spent over 600 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit.
Of course wrongful convictions stop at no state borders. There are 342 DNA exonerations across the nation, and over 1400 not involving DNA.
Tragically, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes committed many additional crimes while the innocent languished behind bars. Nationwide this includes more than 60 sex assaults and 24 murders. This data probably only begins to tell the larger story of all of the crimes that were actually committed in that these were only known convictions. When we convict the wrong person, all of us are harmed.
- Making our system safer for the innocent does not mean making it easier for the guilty.
- Law enforcement agencies all over the country are voluntarily adopting measures to ensure evidence is accurate and reliable.
- The updates proposed are developed based upon principles derived from 30 years of social science research.
- It’s not a matter of blaming police or prosecutors, but adapting law enforcement and investigations to modern best practices.
- DNA exonerations are only a tip of the iceberg, as criminalists estimate that DNA is only present in 10-17% of all serious felony cases. Non-DNA cases involve the same potential for wrongful conviction—eyewitness misidentification, forensic science inaccuracies, false confessions, misuse of government informants—as DNA cases do.
Now is the time to make the change, to protect all of us and restore confidence in our criminal justice system.
But we can’t do it with our staff alone.
To really make a difference in all or our lives, we need the help of everyone willing to give some time, write a letter, attend a hearing, or make some calls. To help advance change in Pennsylvania, the Project created an online campaign to raise public awareness and provide support for needed legislative reforms. Act 4 Innocents in Pennsylvania uses Legislative Advocacy, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to spread information about wrongful convictions and engage your friends in these critical matters. We issue Action Alerts for our supporters, asking for their help in advancing progressive criminal justice reform.
On these pages, we have all the tools you will need to join our efforts to raise awareness about wrongful convictions in Pennsylvania. Our goal is to encourage law enforcement to adopt best practices which will prevent wrongful convictions. Legislation pending in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, would mandate these and other reforms.
First, learn more about known best practices and how they would help protect all Pennsylvanians.
- Read the Report of Pennsylvania’s Advisory Committee on Wrongful Convictions and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project White Paper to learn about how our fellow citizens have been convicted of crimes they did not commit and what we should do to prevent it from happening.
- Learn why Compensation for Pennsylvania’s Exonerated Citizens is a priority.
- Act NOW to help change Pennsylvania law. Go to our Legislative Action Center to learn about pending legislation that will affect the convicted innocent. There you can email, tweet, or contact youe Pennsylvania legislator to urge them to #Act4Innocents.
- 10 Easy Ways to Help Pass Legislation to Prevent Wrongful Convictions
- Host a Letter Writing Party – Grab some friends, pull out your laptops and get busy!
- Sponsor a Community Event – The Pennsylvania Innocence Project will work with you to put together a program for your religious institution, community group or school. We have Power Point presentations, videos, and other interactive ways to present on issues related to wrongful convictions.
- To have the Project staff help you put together an informative and interesting presentation, contact us by e-mail, or by phone at 215-204-4255.
Finally, keep the conversation going. We will be providing Campaign updates through both Facebook and Twitter (@innocencepa), so make sure to follow us there. Help spread the word by encouraging others to do the same, and comment on posts often to increase the dialogue.
Whether you put together a group to work together or take action on your own, everyone’s help is needed to bring Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system forward. THANK YOU!