Low payout limits can hinder wrongfully convicted

CREATED Feb 3, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - After a Texas man served 30 years for a rape he didn't commit, the state awarded him $2.4 million in compensation.
 
When a Milwaukee man served 23 years after being wrongfully convicted of homicide, Wisconsin awarded him just $25,000.
 
The gap highlights the disparity between how different states help exonerated prisoners get a fresh start. Some allow million-dollar payouts, others cap awards at $25,000, and still others offer nothing at all.
 
The New York-based Innocence Project works to help clear the wrongfully convicted. Policy director Stephen Saloom says his group would like to see all states match the federal policy -- up to $50,000 for each year of compensation, plus another $50,000 for each year on death row.
 
He says a number of states have begun re-evaluating their compensation policies.