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STUDY: 5 Of 10 Falsely Convicted Prisoners Are African American

California prisons

A new U.S. registry put together by two universities highlights more than 2,000 innocents who were falsely convicted of serious crimes since 1989. A closer look demonstrates that half of those exonerated were African American.

The University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern University School of Law worked together to compile the data, for which they collected detailed information on 873 exonerations. Nearly 1,200 additional exonerations were identified by the researchers, although there is less data for those.

Breaking down the numbers on the 873 exonerations, researchers found that five of out 10 defendants were African Americans; nine out of 10 were men. More than 100 of the 873 exonerations were prisoners that had been facing death sentences.

Out of the false convictions for homicides and sex crimes examined by the Big 10 university researchers, DNA evidence proved to be the kicker. Among the 305 charged with sexual assaults, about two-thirds of exonerations came by DNA testing. Nearly one-third of the 416 false homicide convictions were exonerated by genetic testing.

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