Collateral Damage and Collective Strength: Exonoree Families Speak

The wrongful conviction of an individual touches and shapes many lives, most powerfully the lives of those closest to the convicted person. As Sylvia Barnes says about her family during the 19.5 year imprisonment of her son Steven, "We were all incarcerated." Weekend visits, money and packages sent, years of letter-writing, advocacy, worry, begging for legal attention and investigation--these elements define the lives of exoneree family members. Relatives of the wrongly convicted suffer along with the person who is imprisoned, often enduring hardship, trauma and stress that rivals that of their loved one. And the challenges don't end with exoneration, as close relatives often care for the exoneree after release from prison, introducing him to a changed world in many cases, and helping their loved one to cope with PTSD and the stresses and struggles of rebuilding a life shattered by wrongful conviction. This panel presents the experiences of such relatives speaking about their lives, their struggles, and their triumphs.

101- Beginner