About the Ohio Innocence Project
The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) seeks to identify and assist prison inmates who claim to be actually innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. The OIP will review an inmate’s request and conduct an investigation to determine whether the request meets OIP review and screening criteria. The OIP will work only on those cases where new evidence, whether newly discovered or developed through investigation, supports the inmate’s claim of innocence. The best type of new evidence is physical evidence (i.e., DNA) that was not tested prior to trial. The OIP also will work on cases that do not involve DNA if the appropriate criteria are met. While there is no fee for OIP services, inmates may be required to pay for DNA testing or other expert witness fees.
The University of Cincinnati College of Law is the only law school in Ohio to offer an ongoing and fully operational Innocence Project.
The Innocence Movement
In the United States, more than 250 inmates have been proven by DNA testing to be innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. When non-DNA cases are considered, nearly 500 wrongful convictions of the factually innocent have been identified in the U.S. in the past two decades alone. But the phenomenon of wrongful conviction is by no means limited to the United States. More than 80 countries have struggled with public claims of wrongful conviction, and high profile exonerations have stirred outcries for reform in countries from England and Norway to China and South Korea.
Much of the work necessary to free the wrongfully convicted has been performed by members of the Innocence Network. These projects, including The Innocence Project and other state-specific Innocence Projects, first emerged in the United States in the 1990s and proliferated across the country in the past two decades. In recent years, projects pursuing post-conviction innocence claims have formed in several countries outside of the United States, with scholars and lawyers across the globe becoming increasingly more interested in exploring this movement to learn how to better tackle the problem of wrongful conviction in their own countries.