A bill signed into law by Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Friday will pay thousands of dollars to individuals wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison.
The law, passed unanimously by Idaho’s House and Senate, will compensate wrongfully convicted inmates for time spent on parole, in prison, and on death row. The testimony of Chris Tapp, an Idaho man who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1997, was a key driver of the legislation, according to the Idaho Falls Post Register.
— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) March 5, 2021
“I’m grateful knowing that in the future when someone is exonerated this law will be in place to help them when they need it the most,” Tapp said. He had previously told the Idaho legislature that when he was released from prison, he had only the clothes on his back and the support of his family to help him get back on his feet. (RELATED: Netflix’s ‘Making A Murderer’ Shows Grim Reality Of False Confessions, Dassey Lawyers Tell Supreme Court)
Under the Wrongful Conviction Act, individuals who have their convictions reversed due to a finding of actual innocence may receive $25,000 for every year spent on parole, $62,000 for every year spent in prison, and $75,000 for every year spent on death row.
“This is the right thing to do,” Little said of the legislation.
Americans, regardless of political party, are increasingly in favor of criminal justice reform. A 2020 Associated Press poll found that 95% of Americans favor some sort of reform, although they were not required to specify what reforms they supported exactly.
Former Obama-era White House official and CNN commentator Van Jones worked with the Trump Administration to pass the 2018 First Step Act, and repeatedly praised former President Donald Trump for his stance on the issue.