In a rising tide of exonerations resulting from wrongful convictions, our research is important to gaining awareness of unique reentry needs associated with trauma.

Our Project COPE Team recently presented their research findings at the 15th Annual Academic and Health Policy Conference on Criminal Justice Health in April 2022, and more recently, at the 16th Annual Conference held April 13-14, 2023.

View the 2022 presentation here:
ACCJH COPE Presentation_April 2022

What Promotes healing among the wrongfully convicted?  Results from a qualitative study of exonerated persons in California

Exonerees are individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime.  Later found innocent and released from prison, exonerees often spend decades incarcerated.  While limited, research suggests that the unique trauma of wrongful conviction has profound adverse mental health implications which challenge reintegration, well-being and healing.  In this study we examined exoneree perceptions of their mental health and coping mechanisms used to support healing.


Health & Well-Being Project

In partnership with Exonerated Nation, Touro University California’s Public Health Program conducted a qualitative study to assess the health status and needs of California exonerees for immediate and long-term support in the fall of 2017.

Why is this project important?

An estimated 2.3 million individuals are incarcerated in the U.S., so one might wonder why we are choosing to focus on the unique experiences of exonerees. We believe that by shining a light on the plight of exonerees, we can also draw attention to the public health problems associated with mass incarceration in the U.S. Anyone incarcerated in the U.S. experiences personal trauma, which also impacts their families and communities. The negative impacts of incarceration on exonerees are exacerbated by having served time for crimes they did not commit. This again points to problems in how the U.S. criminal justice system operates, and we hope that our work with exonerees will not only improve their post-incarceration experiences, but also create networks and galvanize support of new allies to discuss the changes needed to reform the criminal justice system as a whole.


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how can you help?


Exonerated Nation is a growing organization and we’re calling on you to help us meet the needs of exonerees. Here are three ways to support us: Make a tax-deductible donation to EN. Invite an exoneree to speak to your school or organization. Organize an event to educate your friends about wrongful convictions . Donate your gently used computers, cell phones, and clothing.