The psychological toll on falsely accused people seems significant, harsh, and enduring. There’s a need for structures to help these people and their families. Participants reported adverse effects on their sense of self, reputation, mental and physical health, relationships, perspectives on the justice system, resources, and the ability to move forward after their charges were overturned. These issues seemed to add up and made things even more stressful for those wrongly charged.
According to research, wrongfully convicted persons experience different damages than those convicted and found guilty of the same act, and these harms are more severe. Therefore, it is critical to determine the best strategies for helping falsely accused people and their families. If you have been wrongfully convicted, here are tips to help you recover.
In This Article
- Get Comprehensive Mental Health Services
- Join a Support Group or Community
- Get Support from Family
- Advocacy Opportunities for Exonerees
- Other Recovery Strategies
- Compensation Statutes
- Non-Monetary Compensation
- Finding the Best Coping Strategy for Exonerated Victims
- Do You Need Affordable Lawsuit Funding? Call Us Today!
Get Comprehensive Mental Health Services
Interventions such as comprehensive case management, individual, family, and group therapy, peer support, and advocacy can aid in coping with the complexities of life after unjust incarceration and facilitate a successful return to society. Exonerations need assistance for exonerees and their families customized to the local context and community since they are local occurrences.
Interventions should also consider the exoneree’s family’s ability to cope with their situation and how the social environment has altered due to their incarceration. Social workers are uniquely positioned to offer interventions to increase access to these much-needed services.
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Join a Support Group or Community
Because of the harm done to their mental health, exonerated victims often struggle just to get through the day. Over the years, there have been fears, suspicions, and anxieties; some still worry about being sent back to jail.
People with similar situations might turn to community groups like Exonerated Nation for support because no one else can completely comprehend what they have been through. The falsely accused may feel more hopeful about their future if they have access to a supportive community of others who have been through a similar situation and are not quick to pass judgment.
There’s some proof that activism is beneficial: after being exonerated, many people look for methods to get active in policy reform, educate the public, and advocate for others who are still wrongfully accused. By engaging in these activities, they may be able to normalize their trauma, find meaning in their own experiences, and regain their self-esteem and sense of direction.
Although some individuals may find this therapeutic, it should always be their choice, and they should never be “forced” to participate in activism or public speaking. While some people may find this therapeutic, others may want to “move on”47 or discover that it elicits unfavorable feelings.
It is crucial to provide psycho-education on typical responses following exoneration and the risk of re-traumatization. As a result, the exonerated can better establish a sense of normalcy in their lives and prevent additional discrimination.
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Get Support from Family
Studies have also demonstrated that protection can come from intimate relationships. According to research, the support of family and loved ones was regarded as a deterrent to suicide attempts and was protective of psychological well-being. According to the paper, the assistance available to falsely accused people was harmed since family connections are frequently strained.
Therefore, persons without family support must have access to help in other capacities, such as new social groups or miscarriage of justice support groups. Family therapy is essential given the difficulties in adjusting between exonerees and their loved ones. Such counseling can assist in enhancing coping mechanisms, foster cohesiveness and reconnection, and foster mutual understanding.
Advocacy Opportunities for Exonerees
Social workers can assist them further by allowing exonerees to express their experiences and participate in advocacy, which may foster empowerment and restore self-efficacy. Many exonerees claim that the state must be held accountable and that they deserve public recognition of the injuries they have endured.
Social workers can set up speaking engagements for exonerees at their request and when it is therapeutically necessary so that they can tell their story and advocate for change. Such campaigning can boost exonerees’ self-esteem and encourage the growth of their leadership skills. Speaking up may be a potent way for the wrongfully imprisoned to recover their voices, especially with the proper support.
Other Recovery Strategies
Here are some other recovery strategies for individuals who are wrongfully convicted:
People who have been wrongfully imprisoned deserve compensation for the time and freedom they have irrevocably lost. The primary method of restitution for persons who were unfairly convicted is through compensation legislation.
Compensation legislation is desirable because it allows for recovery without requiring a lawsuit or the need to demonstrate government wrongdoing, for instance. Nevertheless, State compensation laws sometimes fall short of appropriately paying those wrongly convicted. Furthermore, under various state laws, it is sometimes exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for those falsely convicted to be released.
Several states, including Texas, have taken action to provide exonerees with help outside of monetary compensation. 2015 saw Governor Abbott enact the Tim Cole Act. The Tim Cole Act is a comprehensive strategy that includes both monetary and nonmonetary compensations. For each year exonerees were unlawfully imprisoned, the Tim Cole Act pays them $80,000 in compensation. A further $25,000 per year is given to the exoneree if they were mistakenly put on death row.
In addition to the monetary prize, each exoneree is assigned a case manager who helps them find the assistance they need for a smooth reintegration. According to the law, a person who has been exonerated is eligible to take advantage of any program designed to help them reintegrate into society. Additionally, exonerees have access to medical, dental, and psychiatric care and help with the paperwork required to participate in federal entitlement programs.
Finding the Best Coping Strategy for Exonerated Victims
Those who have been falsely convicted tend to suffer extensive, severe, and long-lasting psychological effects. Our findings imply that to help these people and their families, suitable procedures must be put in place. A small percentage of exonerees may experience post-traumatic development after having their convictions reversed.
Exploring the most effective coping mechanisms for those falsely accused may be helpful because post-traumatic growth is frequently linked to social support and efficient coping mechanisms. For instance, while joining support groups and participating in activism may be beneficial, they are ineffective.
Alternative coping methods may be more effective for those who do not desire to participate in these activities, such as creating new social networks, exercising, practicing mindfulness, or doing yoga. Future studies should examine other coping mechanisms.
To support their transition, encourage recovery, and promote empowerment, the exonerated require and deserve thorough case management and chances to tell their tales. However, following unjust incarceration, there are few options for effective advocacy or access to established forms of support. Urgent action must be taken in this case.
By offering trauma-informed support and advocating for changes that lessen the frequency of wrongful imprisonment and compensate exonerees for incalculable damages, social workers can play a crucial role in promoting the well-being of exonerees and their families. Financial compensation alone would not be sufficient to compensate for the suffering exonerees have endured and the care they are entitled to.
Do You Need Affordable Lawsuit Funding? Call Us Today!
If you need immediate funds to help you recover and get your life back on track after a wrongful conviction and before your case concludes, contact us at High Rise Financial today or call us on (866) 407-6404. Our dedicated financial experts will be available to speak with you and discuss your possible lawsuit loan options.