Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Measuring Wrongful Convictions

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_162


Measuring wrongful convictions includes counting exonerations, estimating the incidence of wrongful convictions, and measuring the correlates of wrongful convictions in known exoneration cases. Measuring wrongful convictions is an important task because it can be used to evaluate the inaccuracy and unfairness of the criminal justice system.

A wrongful conviction is a conviction that is factually inaccurate, that is, the wrong person was convicted or a person was convicted for a crime that did not occur. An actual innocence exoneration is an official act that erases the legal status of guilt based on a judgment of factual innocence.

Wrongful convictions are inherently difficult to establish because they are “invisible” when they occur, the process of reconstructing equivocal evidence that led to a conviction in the first place is difficult, and prosecutors and courts are resistant to opening old convictions.

Lists of exonerations are not kept by government agencies but by...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA