Opinion Versus Reality: How Should Wrongfully Convicted Individuals be Compensated Versus How They Are Actually Compensated
Keywords:Compensation, Exoneration, Wrongful Conviction, Compensation Statute.
Securing compensation following exoneration is an important step for wrongfully convicted individuals in getting some semblance of a normal life post-release. This study seeks to determine what the public believes to be fair compensation for individuals who were wrongfully incarcerated for ten years prior to exoneration, as compared to how much compensation a state would offer the same exoneree. Prior research has tracked what compensation is offered to exonerees through state statutes and detailed difficulties in securing compensation at trial, yet little is known about how statutory compensation compares to what the public believes exonerees should receive. Through two experimental surveys, the current study surveys over 200 students and online respondents to determine how much compensation is fair to individuals, and compares these amounts to what states give to qualifying exonerees. Results indicate that individuals give more compensation on average to a fictional exoneree than do state governments; though the dollar amounts were not statistically significantly different, respondents gave millions more to exonerees than did state statutes. The significance of these findings and avenues for future research are examined.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Jeremy Shifton
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