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Who suffers the most when an individual is wrongfully convicted? Well, most certainly, it is the wrongfully imprisoned themselves. Are they the only ones who suffer, though? Definitely not, but many courts and laws would have you think so.

When a wrongfully imprisoned person is put behind bars, not only is the actual perpetrator of the crime still out on the streets, but an innocent member of society is forcibly removed, their family is ripped apart, their loved ones are ostracized, and their children grow up with the attached social stigma of being the child of a “criminal”.

They would have you believe that no one else suffers, but it is far more accurate to say that everyone else suffers.

Certain laws make it so that the only person entitled to compensation after a wrongful imprisonment is the individual wrongfully convicted. Not the wife who, as a single parent, had to work two jobs to barely scrape by. Not the kids who, in addition to social stigma, had to grow up without the influence of their parent. Not the family who, after hearing of the conviction, likely divided and took sides.

This is all in the wake of the story of William Lopez, the man who died of an asthma attack mere days before his $124 million false imprisonment case was to start. He had planned on using the money to take his family on trips around the world, go to college, help his wife set a business up, etc. Now, since he has passed away, it is unsure whether his wife or family will receive any compensation at all. That means that now, after their husband/father was returned to them, he was taken away again, and they will again return to the lives they were living while he was in prison.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/22/we-need-to-fix-how-we-compensate-the-wrongly-convicted/