Suppose you spent five years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. How much does the government owe you?
Over the past few decades, the rise of DNA exonerations has made this a more pressing question. And many states have created explicit policies to answer it.
But those policies vary wildly from state to state.
Twenty-one states provide no money — though people who are exonerated can sue for damages. Twelve states and the District of Columbia award damages on a case-by-case basis. Another 17 states pay a fixed amount per year of imprisonment.
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