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Somin Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio

Professor Ilya Somin was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio by host Joy Cardin on whether those who are wrongly convicted should be compensated.

Some states, including Wisconsin, offer compensation to those unjustly convicted and sentenced to time in prison. 

Somin told the show's host he believes the compensation should be “$50,000 to $100,000” per year of incarceration.

“If the government imprisons an innocent person, fairness and justice dictate we should compensate that person.” Somin said.

Somin said he believes one of the reasons for wrongful convictions is assistant district attorneys who prosecute criminal cases. “Prosecutors are assessed on their conviction rate and sanctions are very weak. The incentive to avoid misconduct is not there," he said.

Many of those wrongly convicted of crimes lack the money to mount a legal defense. According to Somin, “They don’t have much in the way of resources to keep the investigation going” in order to avoid prosecution.

In addition, those released from prison after being wrongly convicted may experience difficulty securing employment because their record isn't expunged immediately, while their skills might also have atrophied during their incarceration.

“The purpose of the compensation is to compensate the innocent person for the harm they suffered,” Somin said.

Listen to the program