On October 2, 2017, a Canadian-led campaign to observe Wrongful Conviction Day (WCD) is expected to be marked in countries around the world.
As part of the Canadian effort, a gala event in Toronto will feature several exonerees, the presentation of the annual Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award and the Tracey Tyler Award, which is given to an individual or group who through the news media, documentary or film, has helped to expose a wrongful conviction or raise awareness of the issue.
A keynote speech will be given by renowned criminal lawyer Marie Henein.
Innocence Canada has worked with innocence organizations from around the globe as well as individuals, businesses, schools, and other members of the public at large to recognize this important day for the past three years. In 2016, 44 of the then 66 innocence organizations participated in WCD events.
We will be increasing our efforts worldwide as a number of cities across Canada and the world will be illuminating landmark buildings, stadiums or bridges in their cities and signing proclamations to acknowledge the wrongly convicted, explained Ron Dalton, Exoneree and Co-President of Innocence Canada. What started as a trickle three years ago, is turning into a global movement!
Last year, in addition to proclamations marking WCD, ten landmarks were illuminated in nine cities in Canada and one in the United States in recognition of the battle to free the wrongly convicted. The landmarks included Toronto’s CN Tower.
The Wrongful Conviction Day campaign is designed to encourage the participation of the public and organizations. Faith communities, representatives of all levels of government and educational institutes are encouraged to set aside time to focus on the causes and remedies concerning wrongful convictions, an issue that affects and devastates individuals and societies worldwide. This can be achieved through media releases, book signings, magazine articles, opinion pieces for daily newspapers, interviews, phone-in talk shows, educational forums, presentations by exonerees, faith community services, vigils, film festivals, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube videos.
Frank and open discussion about the causes of wrongful convictions can lead to positive change in our criminal justice systems and help reduce future wrongful convictions
Background on Innocence Movement
Since its inception in 1993, Innocence Canada has helped in the exonerations of 21 Canadians. These innocent individuals combined spent more than 190 years in prison. Innocence Canada has 86 cases currently under review and is undertaking a major project over the coming year to cut into this backlog.
In the United States, the National Registry of Exonerations recorded 168 exonerations in 2016 alone. This represented 25 states, the District of Columbia, federal courts and Puerto Rico. The National Registry has recorded 1,994 known exonerations since 1989. Since 2011, the annual number of exonerations has doubled.
For more information and interview requests for exonerees and Innocence Canada representatives please contact:
Toll free: 1-800-249-1329 x 227
In Toronto: 416-504-7500 x 227
WCD is supported and sponsored by the Criminal Lawyers Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Law Foundation of Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario, educational institutions, law offices and many others.
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