Many people have a blind trust in the criminal justice system. They think that if a people are convicted of crimes, they did those crimes and should be punished. What many people don’t realize is that there are people who are wrongfully convicted each year in this country. While the number of cases isn’t great, even one person spending time behind bars for a crime he or she didn’t commit is too much.
Wrongful convictions come with a host of effects to the person who is incarcerated for no good reason. Here are a few points to consider when you are thinking about wrongful conviction and their impacts:
Lack of life advancement
Even though they are getting older, these individuals don’t have the life advancement that their peers who weren’t incarcerated have. This is because the time they were in prison is essentially lost time. While some inmates do have a chance to learn a trade, this isn’t always possible and it isn’t always something in the field in which the person wanted to have a career.
The lack of education and job history can be difficult for these individuals to overcome if they are released from prison. They are often left having to rely on other people to make ends meet and support them. In some cases, they might be eligible for a settlement because of the wrongful conviction, but these can take a long time to work through the court system.
They also lose a lot of time that they could have been bonding with family members and friends. In some cases, people lose loved ones while they are wrongfully incarcerated and never get the chance to say goodbye. This can have a great toll.
While it might be possible for a person to overcome the social impacts of a wrongful conviction, the psychological effects can be much more difficult to work through. There is the matter of losing trust in the criminal justice system that is tasked with keeping the country safe. On top of that, these individuals might have had to fight for survival in prison. They were locked up and might have been treated like caged animals. This is all horrible for mental health.
Post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression are commonly associated with this social injustice. These can require mental health care to overcome, but with lack of income and other financial difficulties, this can be difficult to obtain.