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economic compensation enough for wrongfully convicted inmates?
The pronouncement of a crime charge against a person marks the begging of a legal battle for freedom of that individual. When the accused stand in court, their sole hope, is to have a plea of not guilty, which convinces the judges to let them free? At the end of any hearing, the prosecutors present their submissions, from which the court makes the final judgment. The expectations are either, a declaration of innocence or guilt. The incarnated have a chance to apply an appeal against the case progressively, until the highest order of court authority (Butler 11). Those declared innocent need and deserve equal treatment as the other free people. This necessitates a call for compensation of the released persons.
The cases of wrongfully convicted inmates
Statistics indicate that, every year, the American prisons releases approximately 700,000 men and women from their custody. These people usually have a long period of alienation from their families, the community and work. Amongst these people released, some are people accused unfairly, who should not be in that group. They are people accused of crimes they never committed. This raises the question of the effectiveness of the judicial system and prosecution; as a person should not spend much time in prison if not convicted (Coate et al., 5). The numbers of the improperly convicted Americans are relatively trivial. Amongst the people released are people accused of various allegations, who have reasonable prove that they should not be in prison. The government continues to focus on establishing programs that facilitate the reintegration of the convicted persons into the society. The focus of such inmate reintegration program in the country is developing the inmate or remanded rather than preparing the outside for the released persons. The society and community at large, despite showing smiling faces, are remarkably horrible and harsh in accepting the released persons. This raises the unavoidable issue of compensation of the person, accused by the viewers after they are free from the holding by the government (Schehr 8).
It is a common assumption in the country that the released person gets the deserved compensation and extras to start their lives again with the available family (Grounds 7). However, the government is spending millions of dollars every year in encouraging and fostering successful re-entry into the society. It is the increased number of cases reported of how; the unjustly accused and convicted persons, suffer in the struggle to manage their lives that caused curiosity as to what the issue would be. The reports of such cases indicate that, not only do the wrongfully convicted persons struggle with life after release, but also they have to wage spirited battles against the government to prove their eligibility for compensation (Butler 17). The unjustly convicted persons, even after the truth is out and they get their freedom, the wage protracted battles to get just a fraction of what the society owes them for wrongfully taking away their liberty. The mere dreams of a hefty compensation often turn into an unending nightmare. The statistics of project find that, even after overturning of the conviction, about two out of every five, remain without compensation. The wrongful conviction cases and the deserved compensation woes became largely visible with the popular culture of activists of human rights, the journalists and scholars to highlight the causes and consequences of such plight.
The case compensation
The issue of unjust conviction flow from various causes. These causes of unjust conviction include happenings such as mistakes from the eyewitnesses. For instance, when the witness makes a wrongful accusation, which then leads to false evidence against the person; this results in unjust conviction. Later on, the eyewitness could identify their mistake and re-testify to acquit the person of the charges, or the truth can come out through other witnesses and investigation findings. Additionally, another possible cause of unjust conviction of a person is the misconduct and incompetence of the prosecutors. It is the duty of the case prosecutors to ensure that they have the right person in court. They have the mandate to investigate on their own, evaluate the evidence available and its sustainability to convict the person. This way, they verify the authenticity and accuracy of the accusation before convicting the wrong person. However, it is surprising that most prosecutors even go to the extent of colluding with corrupt lawyers and judges to ensure successful prosecution of the cases. This is unjust accusation, and it affects the convicted person significantly.
Moreover, another possible cause of unjust conviction of the person is improper and falsified forensic evidence. Forensic evidence is a strong testimony to a case, and as such, it leads to the ultimate incarceration or acquisition of the person depending on its findings. However, corruption in the security sector and the associated departments of finding evidence results in falsification of evidence by some people for personal gains. Such occurrences lead to the ultimate conviction of the person, despite being innocent (Gould 87). This is unjust and wrongful conviction and such necessitates the compensation when the truth comes clear. Additionally, cases of coercion by the police officers and lawyers also can result in unjust convictions. These wrongful convictions, lead to various effects after release, such as the hardships of re-integrating into the society, employment, housing and identification issues among others.
In determining the case and reason for compensation, it is significant to evaluate the effects and impact of wrongful conviction and imprisonment of the person. The Federal Provincial Task Force Report established a number of findings necessitating compensation of the convicted. This report sought to establish whether financial compensation is enough for the wrongfully convicted persons. In its findings, it observed that, the precise issue to address that affects the people wrongfully convicted is the mental anguish and loss of reputation. It further went ahead to state that, the wrongfully convicted person indeed does deserve some form of amendment for these and many other injuries by way of financial and other forms of compensation. This is according to the federal government, indicating that, the government realizes the need for compensation. However, is the compensation enough for all the inflicted pains, losses and injuries? To examine whether financial compensation is enough, it is significant to state the other factors and impacts of wrongful conviction.
In compensating the person, it is necessary to consider factors of personal harm such as, the loss of liberty. The person convicted seizes to have the freedom to establish him or herself; they cannot work, as they do not have the freedom to exercise their personal liberty of finding gainful employment activity. Thus, needs compensation to re-establish (Petersilia 67). The convicted losses reputation and suffers a lot of humiliation and disgrace. Conviction in the society aligns with unworthiness to be among the society. Therefore whether wrongfully convicted or not, the person will always face reputation issues and social disgrace due to the association with the accusation, and the term spend in incarceration. Even when the person comes from the prison, the negative publicity already created pursues them, and this can make it extremely difficult to find gainful employment in a reputable office or institution. Conviction causes a lot of pain and suffering, both on the individual and the immediate family. For instance, a mother loses her child, a child loses a father, a woman loses husband and vice versa (Law 67). These are relationships built on trust and presence; thus, loss of individual to wrongful conviction deserves more than financial compensation. The financial compensation does not account for the time spent away from the family and loved ones of the accused person. The convicted persons, loses their social life, missing aspects such as the ability to start a family and enjoyment of life; these are issues that are not recoverable and such require hefty compensation. Moreover, it is significant to consider the foregone developmental experiences, such as education for those pursuing careers and social development and learning for the working persons (Gould 87). A person that had sufficient and quality employment losses their working space, even after the acquisition of charges, they cannot recover their work positions. The student may go back to school, but still, they will find their former classmates far gone, thus it is clear unjust conviction causes a lot of harm on the person.
The wrongfully convicted persons lose their civil rights; when the person is in prison, there are rights they cannot exercise, and even after their release, they face challenges accessing some of their rights and this renders their lives difficult to manage. Another developmental trend is the incidences suffered in imprisonment before the release (Tong 54). The wrongful convicted may suffer physical and other forms of assault by inmates. The case scenarios observed in the incarceration facilities of suicides and murders are such dangers that the unjustly accused person faces while in the prison. This makes their lives hard as they have to live with…[continue]
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Wrongful Conviction of James Henry Henry James was only 19 years during his conviction for rape that he did not commit. It is after thirty years imprisonment that the realization of his innocence emerges thereby keeping it free. This case is a good example of the importance of evidence in the proceedings of a case. The imprisonment of the innocent man arose because of the little evidence that he had against