Over 4 percent of people sentenced to death are innocent, according to what authors of a report published Monday say was a “conservative,” statistics-based estimate.
Advocates against the death penalty told Al Jazeera that number is astoundingly high. But for one exonerated death row inmate, the figure seems incredibly low — and he believes he’s more qualified to estimate the number of innocents on death row than professors and analysts.
“I feel like the number is much higher, being that I’ve been there,” Reggie Griffin, who was sentenced to death for allegedly killing another inmate in 1988, told Al Jazeera. For four years, he thought he would die at the hands of the state, but his sentence was eventually reduced.
A Missouri judge ruled on Oct. 25, 2013, that the two inmates who had testified against Griffin had not provided sufficient evidence against him. One of the inmates had recanted his testimony, saying that he had testified against Griffin because prison guards said they would protect him from systematic sexual abuse at Missouri’s Moberly prison.