About Us

When the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) launched in April 1999, wrongful convictions were viewed as anomalies — rare exceptions to an otherwise well-oiled criminal justice machine. We know now, however, that prisons and death rows around the country are populated by countless individuals who have been wrongly convicted: innocent people doing someone else's time.

The Center on Wrongful Convictions is dedicated to identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and other serious miscarriages of justice. To date, the Center has exonerated more than forty innocent men, women, and children from states around the country, and it receives thousands of inquiries a year.  The CWC also houses some of the nation's leading legal experts on false confessions and police interrogations and has helped exonerate more than twenty false confessors.

Together with our partners around the globe, the CWC leverages its clients' real stories of injustice to seek criminal justice reform.  After the CWC helped exonerate six innocent men off Illinois' death row, Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011.  The CWC's expertise on false confessions has also driven sweeping laws around the nation requiring the electronic recording of interrogations, as well as some of the country's first laws requiring counsel for children in the interrogation room.  The CWC co-founded the National Registry of Exonerations, a database that provides detailed information about known exonerations in the United States since 1989.  CWC faculty members also have published groundbreaking books and articles on the problem of false confessions and engage in public-facing dialogue through traditional and digital media outlets to run educational campaigns about the need for reform.  Together with our partners and the public, we are energized to bring about real criminal justice reform -- so that we can prevent wrongful convictions in the future.