New Orleans Be the Change Spotlight :: Introducing Innocence Project New Orleans

This month for our “Be the Change Spotlight” I’d like to introduce you to Innocence Project New Orleans, an organization committed to freeing innocent, life-sentenced prisoners.

How Innocence Project New Orleans got started

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) began in 2000 when the founding director, Emily Bolton, was awarded a two-year fellowship from the National Association for Public Interest Law (now Equal Justice Works) to review the cases of life-sentenced prisoners in Louisiana who may have been wrongly convicted but had no way of proving it from inside prison without a lawyer. IPNO incorporated as a two-person operation in 2001 and have since grown to be one of the most successful innocence projects in the country and a founding member of the Innocence Network.

Who is Innocence Project New Orleans?

IPNO is a free-standing, non-profit law office (not a law school) with specialized full-time staff attorneys and investigators working cases from start to finish. They are supported by scores of law school and undergraduate student volunteers, all of whom help make it possible for them to provide the very best representation to innocent prisoners at no cost to their clients.

What Innocence Project New Orleans Does

IPNO devotes the majority of their time and resources to freeing poor people who will otherwise die in prison for crimes they did not commit. Because healing from a wrongful conviction can take years, if not decades, they provide intensive support to their clients after their release.  They are committed to changing laws, policies, and cultures that cause poor defendants to be wrongly convicted. More of Louisiana’s citizens encounter the criminal justice system than those of any other place in the world. They believe that wrongful convictions can be prevented in a smaller, more focused, accurate, and accountable criminal justice system.

Since 2001, IPNO has freed or exonerated 36 innocent prisoners who served over 873 years in prison between them in Louisiana and Mississippi.

How You Can Support Innocence Project New Orleans

IPNO’s work supporting their clients after they are freed and advocating for a smaller, fairer, more accurate and more humane criminal justice system has grown significantly in recent years. IPNO’s work is made possible by a growing army of allies and advocates who raise the community’s awareness of the problem while raising money for their work and clients.

See the below list for specific ways you can support IPNO ::

Learn more about Innocence Project New Orleans::
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If you’re interested in nominating an organization to be featured in our New Orleans Be the Change Spotlight, please email us at info@neworleansmom.com.

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