Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX) provides free, first-class investigative and legal services to indigent prisoners serving time for crimes they did not commit. Their main goal is to ensure that the wrongfully incarcerated are identified, given assistance, and hopefully, a future hearing to examine their case. IPTX has also been involved in the reform of Texas prosecution, and ensuring the use of science-based techniques are used in trials.
A conservative estimate of the number of wrongfully convicted individuals in Texas is 5,640. That’s 4% of state inmates in Texas. Risk factors for wrongful convictions include: a younger defendant, a criminal history, a weak prosecution case, prosecution withheld evidence, lying by a non-eyewitness, unintentional witness misidentification, misinterpreting forensic evidence at trial, a weak defense, defendant offered a family witness, and a “punitive” state culture. This is all exacerbated by tunnel vision, which prevents the system from self-correcting once an error is made.
This is a long and time-consuming process, but IPTX’s work has exonerated and vacated the conviction of 20 people and has helped many more be released even if they are not yet fully exonerated. Their work has also led to the adoption of new best practices that help prevent future wrongful convictions.
FBB is proud to support IPTX’s important work supporting the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.