The 1994 blockbuster The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of an innocent man convicted of double murder. Morgan Freeman even provides us with this quip in response to Tim Robbins's "not guilty" claim, “(Don’t) you know that everybody in here's innocent?"
Unfortunately, both inside and outside the walls of America’s prison system, innocence has become a joke, like the little kid who says “No Mommy, I didn’t steal from the cookie jar!” Everyone assumes that prisoners are guilty, and of course, as criminals, will lie about their innocence.
However, wrongful convictions are no laughing matter. Entire lives are destroyed, families ripped apart, and innocent people left to suffer for crimes they never committed. This year, a number of high profile exonerations have yielded millions of dollars in overdue compensation for those wrongfully imprisoned.
It appears that inmates with DNA evidence to back up their story seem able to eventually prove the truth. However, for those poor souls whose cases are dependent on DNA, when such evidence has been destroyed, they can likely expect to serve the duration of their improper terms.
Voltaire, the French writer and philosopher, said it best: “It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.”