Settlement Costs from Wrongful Convictions: $250+ Million and Climbing in Illinois

Wrongful Convictions Blog

In 2011 the Better Government Association in Illinois reported that wrongful convictions had cost taxpayers $214 million in settlements. An update (here) indicates that, since the 2011 investigation—which was done with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law—government agencies have agreed to pay another nearly $39 million to settle lawsuits resulting from persons wrongfully convicted, primarily of murder and other serious felonies.  And according to an ABC7 report (here), at least ten cases are currently pending in Illinois courts, which could soon move the cost of wrongful convictions to $300 million or more in the state of Illinois alone.

Of course, the settlement costs do not include the cost of incarcerating 85 innocent people for a total of 926 years since 1989, nor the human costs of wrongful incarceration, nor the costs of crimes committed by the real perpetrators who escaped apprehension…

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