Wrongly convicted prisoners are familiar stories on our online streaming services. Netflix is just one network that has dedicated a whole genre to the subject.
They recount the reality of the trauma encountered by innocent people who have been forced to live a condemned existence, away from society, family and support and then just as quickly thrust back into an ordinary life when their innocence is uncovered.
The documentaries I’ve seen are largely based in the US, and it was interesting to see the support and compensation available to wrongly convicted people. Aside from monetary compensation, the government places importance on providing access to housing assistance, healthcare and psychological support among other items to assist and support the re-entry into society.
It made me curious to find out about Australia’s history and examples of wrongful convictions and I learned that The United Nations’ own Human Rights Commission has consistently stated that in Australia the options we offer are unsatisfactory (https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/international-covenant-civil-and-political-rights)
In fact, Australia is one of the few democratic societies that does not guarantee compensation for the wrongfully convicted.
The judicial process can never be perfect, and rightful convictions far outweigh the wronged. However, even one is too many and perhaps we will see improvements in how we provide support to those who have faced a miscarriage of justice in the future.