Last week National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) published the report for 2015, which prompted us to find out which are 11 states with the highest number of exonerations. In last five years, the number of exonerations has doubled, reaching the peak in 2015 when 149 people were exonerated, among whom five were sentenced to death. Innocent convicts who were freed last year served on average about 14 and a half years in prison. False confession, guilty pleas, and official misconduct were leading reasons why these people were sent to prison for crimes that they did not commit.
Defendants who were charged with homicide faced the most severe and longest sentence – as many as five were convicted to a death penalty. The mere possibility that innocent person is sent to death is one of the factors that has led many states to abolish lethal penalty. However, it seems that these 10 states with the death penalty and that use it the most do not worry much about that. Our previous ranking shows that Texas has executed the largest number of convicts so far. Lone-Star State also ranks first in a total number of exonerations on this list, which raises the question whether it is possible that some of the convicts who were put to death in Texas were innocent.
Ranking of 11 states with the highest number of exonerations is based on records obtained from National Registry of Exonerations. Besides states that imprisoned the largest number of innocent persons, we also present you defendants who served the longest time in prison in each state.