The Newkirk Center for Science and Society is the primary home of the National Registry of Exonerations, a collaborative project with the University of Michigan School of Law and Michigan State University School of Law.
The mission of the National Registry of Exonerations is to provide comprehensive information on exonerations of innocent criminal defendants in order to prevent future false convictions by learning from past errors. The Registry collects, analyzes and disseminates information about all known exonerations of innocent criminal defendants in the United States.
What We Do:
The Registry collects, analyzes and disseminates information about all known exonerations of innocent criminal defendants in the United States, from 1989 to the present. We publish their stories and we provide accessible, searchable online statistical data about their cases. We also conduct empirical studies of the process of exoneration and of factors that lead to the underlying wrongful convictions.
We study false convictions -- their frequency, distribution, causes, costs and consequences, in order to educate policymakers and the general public about convictions of innocent defendants. We focus on exonerations because the only false convictions that we know about are those that end in exoneration.
We aim to be accurate, objective, transparent and accessible. We rely entirely on publicly available information. We do not practice law or investigate cases of possible innocence. We do not collect, maintain or use confidential information of any sort, or work on behalf of any individuals. We do not make our own judgments about the guilt or innocence of convicted defendants. Our criteria for classifying cases as exonerations are based on official actions by courts and other government agencies.
Our primary goal is to reform the criminal justice system and reduce if not eliminate these tragic errors in the future. We also aim to make police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges more sensitive to the problem of wrongful convictions and more willing to reconsider the guilt of defendants who have already been convicted when new evidence of innocence comes to light.
We hope you will join us as we raise funds to support the research at the National Registry of Exonerations. Last year, the National Registry of Exonerations listed more than 2,500 exonerations of innocent defendants who spent more than 22,000 years in prison, including 50 exonerees who served more than 30 years each.
Our research is powered by donors like you. Every dollar donated to the Registry goes directly to help us study and disseminate information on wrongful convictions, why they occur and how to prevent them. We are extremely grateful for any support you can give.
Together, we can build a brilliant future for UCI and our communities.