Posted: July 7th, 2022

Research on Wrongful convictions

cmj5110 bi weekly assignment

Select a research topic that you are interested in but also one that is feasable given the time constraints to explore (10 weeks). What are the research question (s) is/are you would like to answer? Find something that is specific and that has concepts that can be measured.

Complete a Short 2-3 page summary of your research topic. This assignment can form the basis for the introduction to your Research Paper Proposal. Introduce the topic, discuss why you think research is needed and develop some research questions you would like answered as part of your study. This is essentially the WHAT and WHY part of your paper. WHAT do you want to study or explore and WHY does it need to be studied?
Wrongful Conviction
Institutional Affiliation
Research on Wrongful convictions
Since the initial post-conviction DNA exoneration in the United States in 1989, there have been over 364 exonerations with an estimated 20 of them having been serving death sentences (Duncan, 2019). It is generally known that the purpose of justice is to convict the guilty while protecting the innocent. It is very unfortunate that the justice system continues to fail innumerable individuals through wrongfully convicting them. When a prisoner gets back their freedom due to a wrongful conviction of a crime, the concern turns to the years and decades lost while these individuals were behind bars. Many of these individuals are affected negatively in terms of feelings of guilt, fear, helplessness, devastation and depression. For some of these victims, the impact of the wrongful conviction could be comparable or more worse than the original victimization. It is only proper support and counselling that will see them build better futures regardless of their experiences.
Apart from the negative effect on the victim, the harms of wrongful conviction are extensive. They include: the public remains at risk as long as the perpetrator is still free, taxpayer resources are wasted as long as imprisonment of innocent persons is happening, and the public constantly loses trust in the criminal justice system among others. Wrong convictions will constantly cause negative ripple effects on the society hence the need for them to stop.
Notably, this research seeks to understand the prevalence of wrongful convictions and specifically what are the primary contributors. The research questions to guide on the research include:
1. What are the primary factors contributing to wrongful convictions and their respective remedies?
2. What policy developments or reforms can be done to reduce the number of wrongful convictions?
3. What can be done to ensure that all criminal justice officials such as the police and prosecutors are held accountable for their wrongful convictions?
This research is to analyze extensive literature in relation to the prevalence of wrongful convictions, their primary contributors, holding the officials accountable and any policy reforms that have been deemed feasible in attaining the desired change. The field of wrongful convictions remains one that has been extensively delved into, hence existing literature will be fundamental in getting an accurate image of the challenges and finding the gaps as to why the problem still exists. Some of the factors to be considered in this research will primarily look into eyewitness misidentification, inadequate or ineffective legal representation, official misconduct, improper forensics, false confessions, informants, government misconduct or a combination of the factors (Gold & Leo, 2010). An understanding of these factors will guide on the right policies that will prevent the occurrence of the convictions and how the existing one can be solved.

Duncan, C. (2019). Justifying Justice: Six Factors of Wrongful Convictions and Their Solutions. Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science, 7(1), 6.
Gould, J. B., & Leo, R. A. (2010). One hundred years later: Wrongful convictions after a century of research. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 825-868.

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