California incarcerated Obie Anthony for 17 years for a murder he did not commit. After his exoneration in 2011, Obie had to learn how to build a new life outside of prison. He struggled with employment, PTSD and reestablishing relationships with his family. In 2015 he founded Exonerated Nation to help make sure other exonerees didn’t have to face these challenges alone. Exonerated Nation is non-profit based in Oakland that serves California exonerees. We aim to expand our services to reach exonerees across the nation.
Our MISSION STATEMENT
Our mission is to meet the immediate needs of exonerees by helping to heal the debilitating spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical effects of being wrongfully incarcerated and to affect policy change for restoration and the righting of wrongs.
Just over 2,500 wrongfully convicted individuals have been officially exonerated and released from prison since 1989 and 204 individuals have been exonerated in California. It is an unforgivable tragedy that these innocent individuals have lost years of their lives to a broken system. Even worse, the vast majority of exonerees never receive compensation for the years lost and the federal government and many states don’t have an established program to help exonerees secure housing, access health care or mental health services, and obtain employment as they transition from prison to home, family, community and life. While some states, including California, are moving toward comprehensive support for exonerees, execution and implementation of new laws is a slow process, leaving a gap between release and essential support for exonerees.
That’s where we come in.
Our vision STATEMENT
We envision a world where the tools of the state are not used to harm us, to separate us from our families and our dreams. We envision a world where we can heal from individual and collective trauma, mourn our overwhelming losses, seek reconciliation, and experience justice. We envision a family of individuals from across the United States who have been exonerated and who walk together through our transitions from prison and towards our deferred dreams.
Exonerated Nation amplifies the leadership, determination, and tenacity of exonerees. We believe that exonerees are uniquely positioned to challenge injustice, transform the systems of oppression which cause wrongful imprisonment, break down the stigma associated with incarceration, and humanize communities affected by criminalization.
The number of exonerees in California and around the country continues to rise…
Source: National Registry of Exonerations
WE WILL STOP AT NOTHING
We believe that exonerees should have every opportunity to pursue their dreams, feel safe, reunite with their families and heal. Our programs support exonerees to find living wage employment, safe housing, and health and mental health services.
We also partner with exonerees to share their stories, offer healing retreats and leadership training, and create opportunities for exoneree-led community organizing and advocacy. We are even designing and carrying out our own participatory research.
Jaime Rucker King