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Viewers respond to report on varied compensation for the wrongfully convicted

Hari Sreenivasan reads comments from viewers about a recent report involving compensation -- or lack thereof -- for people who've been wrongfully convicted of crimes.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And now to Viewers Like You — some of your feedback about our recent work.

    We heard from many of your about our report last Sunday about compensation — or the lack of it — for people like Drew Whitley, who served time for a crime he did not commit. It turns out that while 30 states do offer the wrongfully convicted some form of compensation, another 20 states don’t, including Pennsylvania, where Whitley spent 18 years in prison before being exonerated of the crime.

    Almost everyone who wrote us on Facebook expressed outrage.

  • Phyland-Juan Becerra wrote:

    “It is ludicrous that in so many states, mine included, they are let out and left to their own devices with absolutely nothing. Shame. Shame. Shame.”

  • Carole Papy added this:

    “We can never give them back the lost, best years of their lives, but money is better than nothing at all. A sliding scale for time served and harshness of the experience would be a start, and those 20 states that offer nothing need an overhaul and a conscience.”

  • Larinda Nomikos:

    “What is a man’s potential worth? How can you possibly restore him? Throwing money at it seems the least/only thing you could do.”

    Several people said authorities should be held accountable for their mistakes

  • From Judith Harlan:

    “Not possible to give back what was stolen, which is why judges and prosecutors need to be brought to justice as they know and accept daily wrongs.”

  • And James lee Lucier went further:

    “If he was intentionally wronged, those who wronged him should spend time in prison, and he should be awarded their assets. The authorities should make a clear and lout public apology.”

    But several of you questioned whether there was any real way to make amends.

  • Joshelle Grest wrote:

    “There’s no way to repay time!!! There’s just not!”

  • And Joshua Iano summed it up this way:

    “We owe them a new life.”

    As always, let us know what you think of our stories on Twitter, Facebook or at newshour.pbs.org.

    You can read more about Drew Whitley’s case in a new book written by his lawyer called Victim of the System.

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