by Tatiana Rodriguez ’23
According to the Innocence Project, an organization working to put an end to wrongful convictions, a black person is “seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder.” Even worse, it is often years before it’s found that a person has been put in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. Recently, a black man, Kevin Strickland, was released from prison after 43 years. On the basis of false testimony in the original trial, Strickland was originally convicted of murdering three people in 1979 in Kansas City, Missouri. Attorney Peter Bakers reviewed Strickland’s case and used a new law in Kansas which allowed local prosecutors to challenge a conviction when they think that the defendant did not commit the crime.
Strickland’s case is one of numerous recent examples that show that the wrongful conviction of black men continues to be normalized and reveal America’s overwhelming tendency towards racial profiling, even when it risks someone’s freedom. The bare minimum is to provide compensation for everyone who suffered from wrongful convictions. However, no compensation will ever be enough, so the real solution is for the justice system to be fixed by enacting laws that promise a diversified jury, as well as taking forceful action against police and prosecutors who knowingly relied on unsubstantiated and even false evidence to win convictions.