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Books about wrongful conviction and related issues

Updated 7-25-19.

The following is a list of 27 books about wrongful convictions and related issues, recommended by the highly valued Innocence Project, which works nationwide to free the innocent and reform our criminal justice system. See The Innocence Project: A Short History Since 1983 (Black Past). "DNA testing has exonerated more than 345 innocent people in the United States – and others are still waiting for justice."

Also of interest: The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), based in Montgomery, Alabama, "provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial." Read about it in the bestseller Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.  On EJI's website (with links to material on racial justice, children in prison, mass incarceration, the death penalty, and "just mercy"):


"Since 1973, 166 people have been released from death row after evidence of their innocence was uncovered. A shocking rate of error has emerged: for every nine people executed in this country, one innocent person has been exonerated."


Books about wrongful conviction and related issues

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer (2000)
Adams vs. Texas: The True Story Made Famous by the Highly Acclaimed Film The Thin Blue Line by Randall Adams, with William Hoffer and .Marilyn Mona Hoffer (1991)
An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington Jr by Margaret Edds (2003)
Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA by Tim Junkin (2004)
The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City's Most Infamous Crimes by Sarah Burns (2011)
Convicting the Innocent: The Story of a Murder, a False Confession, and the Struggle to Free a ‘Wrong Man’ by Donald S. Connery (1996)
Convicting the Innocent, Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong by Brandon Garrett (2011)
Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice by Bill Lueders (2006) The injustice in this case was suffered by a 38-year-old blind woman who “suffered from incompetence and bias at every level of law enforcement.” “Lueders lays bare the many missteps of the case, starting with the detective's bias and continuing through the unwillingness of the justice system to support one woman's word against the police, even after DNA evidence was found.”
Drawn to Injustice: The Wrongful Conviction of Timothy Masters by Timothy Masters and Steve Lehto (2012)
The Dreams of Ada by Robert Mayer (1987)
Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America’s Death Row by David Dow (2005)
Exit to Freedom by Calvin Johnson with Greg Hampikian (2003)
False Justice: Eight Myths That Lead to Wrongful Convictions by Jim Petro and Nancy Petro (2011)
Full Circle: A True Story of Murder, Lies and Vindication by Gloria Killian and Sandra Kobrin (2012)
Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace by Michael Morton (2014)
In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process by Dan Simon (2012)
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham (2006)
The Innocents by Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, Althea Wasow, and Taryn Simon (2003) Leading civil rights attorneys Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck of The Innocence Project commissioned photographer Taryn Simon to travel across the United States photographing and interviewing individuals who were convicted of heinous crimes of which they were innocent. Simon photographed these innocents at sites of particular significance to their illegitimate conviction: the scene of the crime, misidentification, arrest, or alibi. Simon’s portraits are accompanied by a commentary by Neufeld and Scheck.
Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz (2006)
Killing Time: An 18-Year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom by John Hollway and Ronald M. Gauthier (2010)
Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, with Erin Torneo (2009)
A Promise of Justice: The Eighteen-Year Fight to Save Four Innocent Men by David Protess and Rob Warden (1998)
Pruno, Ramen, and a Side of Hope: Stories of Surviving Wrongful Conviction by Courtney B. Lance & Nikki D. Pope (2015)
Surviving Justice: America’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated compiled and edited by Lola Vollen and Dave Eggers, foreword by Scott Turow (2005)
Tested: How Twelve Wrongly Imprisoned Men Held Onto Hope by Peyton Budd and Dorothy Budd (2010)
Tulia:Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town by Nate Blakeslee (2005)
Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer’s Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty by Scott Turow 2003.

*DISCLOSURE: Buy anything from Amazon after clicking on a link here and I get a small referral fee for your purchases, with no additional cost to you. Even better, encourage your library to buy these books from the publisher, and check them out of the library.

You can donate directly to the Innocence Project here. Donations to The Innocence Project are 100% tax-deductible.  Also, Get involved with the Equal Justice Initiative.

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