A new life on the outside.

The wrongfully convicted are released with nothing as well as no assistance from the state or federal government, receiving less assistance to those on parole, and typically face severe social, psychological and practical challenges in re-integrating into life outside prison. Typically, they are unfamiliar with changes in technology, and face extreme difficulty in obtaining gainful employment because of a combination of factors: lack work skills or experience, questions about their innocence, the stigma of having been in prison albeit wrongfully, and, depending on the individual circumstance, inability to work due to the psychological or emotional after-effect of wrongful imprisonment, or health problems either caused by or exacerbated by poor health care and conditions in prison.

Upon release, exonerees typically need: housing; clothing; emergency funds for food as well as recurring cost of living expenses; mental health services; funds for transportation; job training; job placement; training in everyday technology; a medical and dental examination, as well as someone to keep in regular contact with, assist them in navigating  new processes, setting goals and outlining plans to accomplish them.

The public sees headlines about large civil damage awards for exonerees but fail to realize that it typically takes between 3-8 years for such cases to settle or be adjudicated and that in the meantime they must somehow survive between the time of release until receipt of compensation.

o fill the gap and help exonerees adjust to life outside prison, the Foundation currently leases a two-bedroom apartment to provide short-term housing, gives emergency funding, gives referrals where possible to potential employers and other agencies as well as therapists, and maintains regular contact with them.  No other wrongful conviction organization provides housing or referrals to potential employers.  Additionally, on an informal basis, and as an individual, at personal cost, Jeff Deskovic regularly organizes  social outings with the exonerees. 


We've already made a difference.

Although the Foundation is relatively young, it already has made a difference in the lives of the actually innocent.

William Lopez

William Lopez served 23 1/2 years in prison prior to being proven innocent by attorney's Richard Levitt and Yvonne Shivers in collaboration with The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice. Details of his story can be found here in our exoneration tab. Beyond helping to exonerate William, the Foundation also helped him reintegrate back

into society. The Foundation provided short-term housing for four months rent free in the apartment which the Foundation leases; transitioned him to his own apartment; gave him some emergency funding; and maintained regular contact with him. As an individual, Jeff also took William shopping for clothes; celebrated holidays and special occasions with him; frequently socialized with him; and introduced him to other exonerees and those empathetic to the cause.

 

Eric Glisson

  

In 1997, Eric Glisson was convicted of the robbery and murder of Baithe Diop, a livery driver for the New Harlem Car Service. In 2012, the Bronx D.A. dismissed the charges against Eric when it came to light that, during a 2003 federal investigation of a Bronx narcotics gang called Sex Money and Murder, two cooperating gang members named Jose Rodriguez and Gilbert Vega admitted they shot Diop. Eric had no connection to Rodriguez and Vega whatsoever. He had served 18 years in prison wrongfully.

The Foundation does not limit it's reintegrative assistance to exonerees to only those which it exonerates: services are open to all exonerees. One such example is Eric. Although The Foundation was not involved in exonerating Glisson, we did assist him in reintegrating, including housing at the apartment that the Foundation leases to provide short term housing, which enabled him to focus on completing a BA from Mercy College and then opening his own business, Fresh Take Juice Bar. The Foundation also assisted him with some emergency funding as well as a monthly metro card, while maintaining regular contact with him.

 Additionally, our advocacy before parole boards helped free two prisoners. One was John Whitfield who served twenty-five years for a murder he did not commit.

 

 

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