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Kate Rooney/ MEDILL

Kate Rooney (right) talks with Marcus Lyons (left) about his experience with wrongful convictions. Lyons was wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in 1987. He spent three years in prison, then 16 years on parole as a registered sex offender, until DNA testing finally proved his innocence.

Working towards justice for wrongful convictions

by Kate Rooney
Aug 29, 2014

The United States leads the world in incarcerations with over 2.2 million people in prisons or jails, according the Sentencing Project. Some of these prisoners are innocent and many of the innocent are victims of erroneous eyewitness identification.

About 1,400 people have been exonerated since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. The advent of DNA testing in 1985 and its use in the justice system has helped clear the names of many of the falsely accused.

In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, Kate Rooney explores the fallibility of memory in eyewitness identification and talk to those working reform police procedures. We’ll also hear from a man who was incarcerated for a rape he didn’t commit and a woman who falsely identified a man, who she now calls her best friend.