Compensating the Wrongfully Convicted

Instapundit supports compensating the wrongfully convicted and asks:

"...now that the system appears to be correcting its mistakes, how far will it go to make things right? I think a million bucks each is reasonable, though no more than reasonable, compensation if these guys turn out to be honest-to-God innocent. Think they'll get that much?"

Probably not. New York and Illinois were pioneers in passing laws allowing compensation. The Innocence Protection Act, as originally introduced, provided for $50,000 per year in federal cases. The recent amendment to the bill lowered it to $10,000 per year.

From the Justice Policy Project analysis of the original bill and amendment:

"The bill includes a substantially smaller increase in the federal cap on compensation for unjust imprisonment. Under current law, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims may award up to $5,000 against the United States in cases of unjust imprisonment. The IPA as introduced raised this cap - which has not been raised since 1938 - to $50,000 for each year that the plaintiff spent in prison, or $100,000 per year if the plaintiff was sentenced to death. The [amended] bill raises the cap to $10,000 per year. In addition, while the original bill conditioned federal prison grants on States agreeing to pay reasonable compensation to exonerated death row inmates, the bill simply expresses the sense of Congress that States should provide such compensation."

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