Texas A&M Law Review

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Only a few studies have investigated the psychological consequences of wrongful conviction; several others have examined the psychological consequences of incarceration and its impact on reentry and reintegration, primarily for men. For women who have been wrongfully convicted and subsequently released from prison into the free world, there are further indignities and unique issues: having to deal with the deep personal loss of murdered loved ones along with criminal charges; the absence of DNA evidence, making convictions harder to fight; stigmatization by prosecutors and the media; and unique emotional and medical needs.

This Article presents findings from in-depth interviews with twenty-one exonerated women and describes the unique qualities and needs faced by wrongfully convicted women during their arrest, trial, conviction, imprisonment, release, and post-release, and the creative and resourceful strategies that have helped them cope with an untenable reality.

By giving voice to their lived experiences, this Article seeks to personalize and contextualize the events surrounding the cases, to humanize the people whose lives have been destroyed, and to establish identities amidst an overwhelming sea of facts and statistics. In addition, this Article provides valuable insights and information for clinicians, counselors, families, friends, employers, and communities working to help wrongfully convicted women, and for lawyers, policy-makers, and advocates working to promote social justice and criminal justice reform.

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