Hundreds of arrests happen each day in the United States and many of these are wrongful arrests of defendants who haven't committed the crime they are ultimately charged with and often serve time for. In a country where at any given moment over 2 million people are in prison, even 1% of an error in arrests can result in several thousands of people behind bars for crimes they didn't commit.
There has been a massive increase in the number of exonerations in America as of late, to the point where we have reached a record high. More importantly, there's been a significant increase in non-DNA related exonerations while those involving DNA have flat lined. The year 2014 was the first exorbitant showcase of non-DNA exonerations, having the most of any previous year at 103 cases.
Since the first Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) was established in Dallas in 2007, the country has seen a rise in the establishment of these bodies. CIUs are intended to be an independent reviewer of previous cases that may be wrongful convictions.
The subject of wrongful convictions seems to be on most people's radars. With the runaway popularity of documentaries such as Netflix's "Making a Murderer," there has been a surge of interest in exonerations and the justice system. While no judicial system is perfect, there is certainly something to be said for the rate of overturned convictions.
The reality TV show The First 48 and the City of Miami got its own dose of reality earlier this month when a federal jury awarded $850,000 to 27-year-old Taiwan Smart for a wrongful arrest that was made as a part of the show.