About the Innocence Network

About Us

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of 69 organizations from all over the world dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions. Currently, the Innocence Network consists of 56 U.S. based and 13 non-U.S. based organizations.

The majority of the Innocence Network’s members are based in the United States and are mainly focused on criminal justice reform in the United States, but the Network also includes non-U.S. organizations that meet its membership criteria. The Network maintains an International Committee, and we strongly encourage the development of sister networks across the world, such as Red Inocente, recognizing them as critically important partners in this work globally.

 


Network Statement on Exoneree Rights

As advocates for exonerees, we recognize the great need to make their transition easier by enhancing the availability of and access to the necessary assistance and resources. We are committed to that effort and believe exonerees should have the right to the following resources and services upon their release from prison, as needed or desired by the exoneree.

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Network Statement Concerning Victims

In seeking the exoneration of innocent individuals who have been convicted of crimes, the Network is acutely aware that our representation may understandably concern victims of those crimes, as well as family and friends of those victims. We recognize that our involvement in many cases may create pain or anguish. Although these consequences are unintended, the Innocence Network seeks to minimize them, while remaining devoted to its mission to exonerate innocent individuals and reform the system. In so doing, the Network believes that it shares several fundamental values with victims.

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History  

The advent of new DNA testing methods in the early 1990s gave rise to a number of organizations dedicated to proving claims of innocence that had been almost impossible to prove without DNA. As research on the causes of wrongful convictions, including eyewitness misidentification and false confessions, proliferated, claims of innocence based on non-DNA evidence were on the rise, as were the number of innocence organizations, largely housed in law schools in clinical programs. By 2000, there were 10 programs that met in Chicago for what would be the first Innocence Network Conference, now held annually each spring.

In 2004, the member organizations decided to define their association as a loosely affiliated network. A group of organization directors developed a planning committee to create membership criteria and a structure to guide the work of the members. The first 15 official members of the Network were admitted in November 2005, and a Network Executive Board was established.

Over the past eight years, the Network has more than quadrupled in size with members in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, and France. Its members include independent nonprofits as well as organizations affiliated in varying degrees with law schools or other educational institutions, units of public defender offices, and pro bono sections of law firms.

Job Openings at Network Organizations

Program Director / Policy Coordinator and System Liaison, Ohio Innocence Project

The Rosenthal Institute for Justice is looking for a Program Director/Policy Coordinator and System Liaison (PCSL) to interface with those working in all facets of the criminal justice system in Ohio–prosecutors, police officers, judges, criminal defense attorneys and legislators–to help them understand the causes of wrongful conviction and the need for system-wide reforms to reduce wrongful convictions and make the criminal justice system more accurate and fair.   This position requires a self-starter who can work with existing policy coordinators in the Innocence Network to build a curriculum and modules for education, and who can network statewide to build relationships with all listed stakeholders.  With respect to prosecutors, police, judges and criminal defense attorneys, the PCSL will work to build relationships that will lead to the opportunities to present CLE and OPATA training courses statewide.  The PCSL will also develop relationships and educate on policy matters to increase voluntary adoption of “best practices” among these stakeholders.  With respect to legislators, the PCSL will develop relationships and educate regarding the need for legislative reforms to make the criminal justice system more accurate and fair. Read... read more

Executive Director, Innocence Project of Minnesota

The Innocence Project of Minnesota is currently accepting applications for the Executive Director, full-time, position.  The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors. S/he will work with the board to set and achieve annual fundraising and organizational goals in addition to helping with policy initiatives. The Executive Director is often the face of the organization, representing IPMN to external audiences and managing day to day operations. Qualifications: Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree is required. Preference will be given to those with Juris Doctorates.  Minimum 3-5 years of demonstrated experience in organizational leadership and management within the for-profit and non-profit industry. Previous experience and demonstrated success in fundraising including individual giving, events, and foundation grants. Financial management skills including budgeting, supervision of bookkeeping and accounting and maintaining sufficient internal controls. Demonstrated ability to think strategically, including planning, project development, implementation and assessment. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, including proven ability to effectively present concepts and proposals to others individually, as well as in small and large groups. Demonstrated ability to hire, train, lead and manage a multi-disciplinary staff in a manner which develops employees and volunteers and meets organizational objectives. Ability to work effectively and collaborate with others, including Board members, volunteers, donors, lawyers, and university leaders and faculty. Read... read more

State Policy Advocate, Innocence Project

The State Policy Advocate leads campaigns to change the laws, policies, and practices that contribute to the wrongful conviction of innocent people.  A central goal of the Innocence Project is to reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices, and the advocates work state by state to pass laws that address deficiencies in the system that have been identified through the exoneration of innocent people.  Working in legislatures, with law enforcement, local advocacy organizations and other stakeholders, the advocates lobby, build coalitions and create pressure for reform. Read... read more