Perceptions of exonerees in Australia
Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change / School of Arts and Humanities
Identifying and preventing miscarriages of justice is paramount; however, it is also imperative to consider what happens to exonerees after they have been exonerated in order to better inform their integration back into the community. The present study examines the influence of the type of evidence used to exculpate the accused, and the length of time spent in prison, on public perceptions of exonerees in Australia. The findings reveal that innocent and exonerated individuals are perceived differently to guilty individuals in terms of desired closeness, and do not suggest that exonerees are stigmatised in the same way as guilty individuals may be. Media coverage of the incidence of wrongful conviction is increasing public awareness; however, targeted education regarding the causes and impact of wrongful conviction may assist exonerees’ acceptance once they are integrated back into the community.