Maintaining Innocence

The Prison Experiences of the Wrongfully Convicted


  • Esti Azizi University of Ottawa



Incarceration, Inmate and Prison Violence, Mental Health, Segregation, Wrongful Convictions


Modern research has been diligent and successful in discovering what causes a wrongful conviction and long-term consequences on the wrongfully convicted person and their family. However, there is one area that remains relatively untouched by research efforts. It is the period between the conviction and the release, the period of incarceration itself. The purpose of this paper is to outline the experiences of wrongfully convicted persons in prison. While each incarceration term is an individualized experience, there are many commonalities within these experiences. This paper will consider the incarceration experience via two lenses: Part I will look at inmate and prison violence, and Part II will explore mental health and segregation. The paper will focus largely on the Canadian perspective, with limited insights from other jurisdictions. Each section will also evaluate: (1) the general prison experience for all incarcerated persons, and (2) the distinct prison experiences of the wrongfully convicted as a result of maintaining their innocence. Because little research exists on the distinct experiences of wrongfully convicted persons in prison, this paper looks to interviews and other sources where wrongfully convicted persons discussed their prison experiences. These sources are few and far between, with many wrongfully convicted persons echoing the words of Thomas Sophonow (wrongfully convicted of the murder of a 16-year-old donut shop employee), “whatever happened in jail [is] nobody’s business.”




How to Cite

Azizi, E. (2021). Maintaining Innocence: The Prison Experiences of the Wrongfully Convicted. The Wrongful Conviction Law Review, 2(1), 55–77.



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