The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way all of us live and work, and the Innocence Project is no exception. The pandemic required our staff to immediately pivot to address emerging health and safety challenges while simultaneously fighting to get our innocent clients out of prison and exonerated. It hasn’t been easy.
With COVID-19 sweeping through our nation’s jails and prisons, our ultimate nightmare is to lose a client before we can secure their release and prove their innocence or immediately after they return home.
By supporting the Innocence Project on Giving Tuesday, you enable us to meet the urgency of this moment — to not only fight for our clients’ freedom but also to ensure that they receive the support and resources they need to stay safe once they finally go home.
In my first week as the Innocence Project’s new executive director, our client, Robert DuBoise, was exonerated in Florida. It was awe-inspiring to see the Innocence Project staff put aside the legitimate fear of traveling at this time and go to Florida to represent Robert at his hearing and to be by his side when he finally walked out of prison.
In the week leading to his release, the Innocence Project team had to make arrangements for immediate COVID-19 testing and prepare for a potential quarantine — all in addition to the enormous work traditionally associated with an exoneration.
The prospect of an innocent person being stuck in prison during a global pandemic has propelled this staff to work even harder, to be more resourceful, and to amplify our already urgent calls for justice. And since the start of the pandemic, six Innocence Project clients have been freed or exonerated.
It has been amazing to witness the resiliency and hope of this staff and our clients — and none of it would be possible without help from people like you.
So today, I’m asking you to make a donation to help ensure we have everything we need to keep fighting for our clients and ensuring they have what they need to stay healthy during this pandemic.
Thank you for all your support.
— Executive Director Christina Swarns
This post was originally published on Radio Free.