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Create a federal commission on wrongful convictions

This petition had 18,559 supporters

It is time for us, as a country, to acknowledge the massive problem of wrongful convictions.

There are roughly 2.4 million people in American prisons right now. Of those, it is estimated that over 100,000 are innocent, including a staggering 4% of death row inmates. Exonerations have increased, which signals a growing awareness of the problem, but we still have a long way to go to address it systemically.

In 2015, a record 149 people were exonerated. Of those, two-thirds were minorities, 42 had been convicted in one county in Texas, and 27 were for convictions based on false confessions. This points to deliberate misconduct on the part of authorities, and it signals a human rights crisis in our country that we must address.

In recent decades, U.S. law enforcement officers, judges and prosecutors have been given nearly absolute power, and are not held accountable even when official misconduct is found to have resulted in a wrongful conviction. There are countless roadblocks stopping state government agencies from looking into these cases. This is why we the people request the establishment of a federal commission to investigate and expedite legitimate claims of wrongful convictions.

We know these violations have occurred, so how can we do nothing about it? Since the “crackdown on crime” that occurred about 25 years ago, almost three times as many felony cases enter the court system today as they did then. This causes a major overload on the system, and has proven to lead to more false confessions and forced plea bargains and, ultimately, more wrongful convictions than ever before.

Please sign my petition urging the federal government to take action on this shameful problem facing our nation. Ask the U.S. Department of Justice to establish a federal commission to investigate wrongful convictions.

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