DNA, first used in the United States in the 1980's, has cleared 325 prisoners held for a variety of offenses, many of whom were on death row. Aside from alleviating unjust incarcerations and averting wrongful executions, in about half these cases, DNA testing has led to the real perpetrator. Despite these facts, it remains difficult to obtain post-conviction DNA testing under the current law in some states. Because there are few greater injustices than keeping an innocent person behind bars while denying them the opportunity to prove their innocence, NACDL urges the states to adopt adequate procedures for preserving biological evidence, making DNA testing available to inmates, and allowing applications for post-conviction relief based on favorable DNA results.
Reports & Papers