Imagine being arrested, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit. It’s a nightmare situation, something more from a movie than real life. Unfortunately, this nightmare has become a true story for some Americans, sentenced to death for crimes they didn’t commit and exonerated, often thanks to new technologies.
True stories like these are the reason why the Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, decided to commute the sentences of all the prisoners on death row in his state. ;; He said:
"Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error…Until I can be sure, with moral certainty, that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate."
In this Link TV special we ask: When it comes to human life, what is “moral certainty”? ;; Can and should we ever be sure enough to sentence a human to death? ;; Hip Hop historian, journalist, deejay and community activist Davey D discusses this life-or-death issue with activist and actor Mike Farrell, who has been a passionate advocate for prison and sentencing reforms. Also airing is The Innocent, a revealing documentary about people exonerated from death row in the United States.
On December 16, 2002, 36 exonerated former death row inmates delivered a letter to Illinois Governor George H. Ryan. The letter asked for commutation of all capital punishment convictions to life imprisonment without parole, and was carried for a mile by each participant, for a total of 37 miles. Before leaving office, the Governor fulfilled their request. For each one of those miles there is a story, full of loss, pain and hope.
The Innocent is a touching document to the lives of released death row prisoners, following their stories from arrest, through conviction, prison time and eventual release. Through their own words, these men and women reveal the flaws in the system, while talking us through their experiences as ordinary people faced with death. As new technologies emerge, the rate of exonerations has escalated, leading many to ask – when it comes to life and death, how sure is sure enough?
Find out what you can do about this issue at Death Penalty Focus.
Visit Mike Farrell online.
Learn more about host Davey D.
Get death penalty exoneration statistics at the Death Penalty Information Center.
Prison Reform is a resource list of national organizations working for prison reform.
Center on Wrongful Convictions
Life After Exoneration Program
Death Penalty Information Center
The Innocence Project
For more links and information on other special programs visit our Specials page.
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