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45 Hofstra Law Review 365


Innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit throughout history. The exact number of wrongful convictions is unknowable. In 2014, however, the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) released a study of the cases of criminal defendants who were convicted and sentenced to death and concluded that 4.1% were wrongfully convicted. The researchers explained that “this is a conservative estimate of the proportion of false conviction among death sentences in the United States.” According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1,561,500 adults were incarcerated in federal prisons, state prisons, and county jails in 2014, with an additional 4,708,100 adults under community supervision programs such as probation and parole. If we apply the NAS conservative estimate to just those who are incarcerated, there are more than 90,000 people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in the United States.