One of BJA’s guiding principles is to promote a fair criminal justice system.
Over the past two decades, the American justice system has been confronted with a steady stream of post-conviction exonerations, and the issue of wrongful convictions has emerged as a critical area for examination,
innovation, and reform of criminal justice practices and policies.
BJA is committed to assisting state and local law enforcement entities in adopting evidence-based practices and accessing the necessary technologies to improve outcomes for victims and to reduce the likelihood of a wrongful conviction occurring from the outset of each criminal investigation.
BJA is also committed to ensuring that wrongful convictions are expeditiously detected and addressed when they occur.
In support of the latter goal, BJA established the Wrongful Conviction Review Program, the funding for which is anticipated through the FY 2015 appropriation.
While experts widely acknowledge that wrongful convictions constitute a small percentage of all findings of guilt by our nation’s court systems, irreversible damage is sustained by those who are wrongly convicted.
This damage extends far beyond the individual wrongfully convicted, as systemic errors cause harm to all those involved in the case, including the families of the wrongfully convicted person, the victims of the original crime, and confidence in the criminal justice system.
In addition, wrongful convictions impact public safety by delaying or preventing the identification of the true perpetrators of these crimes.