Is Craig Watkins’ Conviction Integrity unit in Dallas going to fundamentally change how the justice system works? Damn, let’s hope.

The Context Of Things

So far, it’s helped exonerate 33 wrongfully-convicted inmates, and the idea of a ‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ has spread to 11 other major U.S. cities, including New York, Detroit, and Cleveland. Here’s the money quote:

“In 10 years we’ll look back and say we began a process in Texas that fundamentally changed attitudes about the whole meaning of justice in this country,” says Jeff Blackburn, founder of the Innocence Project of Texas, one of a patchwork of innocence projects across the country.

The justice system could use an overhaul — it clearly has potential connections to racist undertones and while 1,304 people were exonerated nation-wide between 1989 and 2013 (through different programs), some legal and correctional leaders think that’s barely scratching the surface of the amount of people who should be exonerated.

The whole experiment in Dallas was based on upending the “convictions-at-all-costs” culture that you often see in…

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