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Twenty-two states, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government currently have statutory mechanisms in place to provide compensation for wrongfully convicted individuals. Most of these statutes focus on the need for monetary compensation for individuals who have spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Only three of these statutes also provide meaningful post-release services. This is despite the fact that these programs are critical to address the unique reentry obstacles that face wrongfully convicted individuals and to ensure successful reintegration into society. This article examines the need for all states to provide meaningful post-release services to wrongfully convicted individuals. Focusing on the Massachusetts statute—the first compensation statute to include a meaningful services provision—the authors also assert that non-monetary “compensation” should include reentry services immediately upon release that are at least comparable to those received by parolees, but yet are tailored to the distinct needs of wrongfully convicted individuals.

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Criminal Law Commons