A recent case of wrongful imprisonment up in Canada highlights just how serious and permanently life-altering a mistake it can be.
67-year-old Ivan Henry, who was locked up for 27 years for a crime that he didn’t commit, is still tormented by nightmares and anxieties related to his time in prison. At the age of 36, he was convicted of 3 rapes, 2 attempted rapes, and 5 more indecent assaults. Thanks to recent advancements in forensic science and police procedure, his case was put up for appeal, and thanks in part to another man being found guilty of those same exact crimes, he was released in 2009.
Henry is still haunted, though. He says “my subconscious doesn’t go away … when you go to sleep and you dream about jails, knives and steel. That comes all the time. It’s not every day, no, of course, but three times, four times a week I am in jail — I see the jail. … But what do you do? You can’t get rid of your subconscious. What am I going to do — get a lobotomy?”
He says that his time in prison manifests itself in strange every-day ways, such as having a hard time trusting strangers, getting upset when a family member cheats at a board game, and various other psychological and physical scars.
Since his release, he has been struggling to cope with the world outside. Life as an ex-convict has not been easy for him, especially given how the governments involved are claiming that he could still be guilty, and are forcing delays into his legal actions.
Henry is filing civil charges against Vancouver for his time falsely in prison, but the trial is expected to be at least a year away.