The ESPN Espy awards the other day gave the Arthur Ashe courage award to a man named Dewey Bozella, who spent 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit before he finally won his freedom. It’s an incredible story that really has little to do with sports, but it has a lot to do with what is wrong with our criminal justice system.
A couple years ago I interviewed a Michigan man who had spent more than 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It was very difficult for me to keep my voice steady as I talked to him with my eyes welled up with tears. His daughter was 2 when he went to prison and almost 30 when he got out. He missed her entire life. The whole story was absolutely heartbreaking.
Our Founding Fathers knew it was better to let a guilty person go free than to send an innocent person to jail.
We seem to have forgotten that in these cases where prosecutorial discretion goes awry. Part of why our judicial system seems broken.
Because if an innocent person can be railroaded into prison for 30 years, or possibly put to death, then the possibility exists that I can also, even if innocent, simply because those in power decide to.
We now have a higher percentage of our population incarcerated than any other country. We have 4% of the population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. Almost 1 in every 100 people in the US is behind bars.