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Innocence Project of Florida Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Crime & Law, Human Services, Legal Services

Mission: The Innocence Project of Florida, Inc. helps innocent prisoners in Florida obtain their freedom and rebuild their lives. We screen and investigate cases in which meritorious innocence claims are identified; secure DNA testing when biological evidence exists; advocate for the release of each inmate excluded from criminal responsibility by this highly critical analysis; provide transitional and aftercare services to those releases after decades of wrongful imprisonment; and advocate for necessary criminal justice reform to avoid wrongful incarcerations in the future.

Results: Florida has freed 14 men after DNA testing proved their innocence. Collectively, they spent 268 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Target demographics: people who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit,

Geographic areas served: Florida

Programs: Investigation & Litigation: The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) screens and investigates cases in which credible innocence claims are identified, secures DNA testing through litigation when biological evidence exists, and advocates for the release of each inmate proven innocent by this highly critical scientific analysis. Exoneree Support: The Florida exonerees, those whose innocence has been proven and who have been released from prison, spent an average of 19.5 years wrongfully incarcerated. Upon their release, the State of Florida provides them nothing – not a change of clothes, not a bus ticket, no support through a re-entry program. IPF has a full-time social worker on staff who arranges for and provides aid to exonerees, which may include medical, psychological, and social support; occupational training and assistance; housing assistance; family support; and education. Criminal Justice System Reforms: IPF works with people from across the criminal justice system – including prosecutors, victims, law enforcement agencies and defense advocates – to enact meaningful reform. Improving fairness and accuracy in the criminal justice system benefits all segments of society. Victims and their families can see justice; prosecutors and police can have the tools to do their jobs well; the public can have more confidence in the system; and innocent people and their families can avoid the tragedy of wrongful convictions.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Innocence Project of Florida is run by an incredibly passionate team of individuals truly committed to exonerating the wrongly imprisoned. Having met many members of their staff, it is no surprise that they have produced a remarkable resume of work over the past several years and counting.

1 Leah40

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing work being done in a state where the old "tough on crime" saw still sells and where justice is still more about money and race than just justice. This is a state that's proud of its school-to-prison pipeline, a state where a junior high school boy gets arrested and charged as an adult for assault for passing gas in class (YES, ARRESTED FOR FARTING). It is a state that on the brochure looks glossy and in the backwoods looks a little too old-timey. And it's a state that very much needs and appreciates the hard work of the people at Innocence Project of Florida, Inc. Wish we could make their funding and offices as big as the capital!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing organization!! Keep up the terrific work!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization that gets the job done in the name of justice. Amazing what they do on a daily basis!!

1 AnnaLaura R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did an externship at the Innocence Project of Florida during law school. Couldn't have had a better experience--incredible staff (friendly, funny, knowledgable and so utterly dedicated) and a noble mission. I miss them!

1 Danielle I.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The people who work there are incredible, hardworking, wonderful people.

FLJerseyBoy

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been following the work of IPF for nearly 10 years. In the face of very difficult odds, they have managed to offer hope and justice in place of unfairness for the wrongly convicted of Florida. They provide legal counsel and investigative support to their clients' cases, of course. But in addition, IPF also includes SOCIAL services to help ensure the smooth transition of exonerees back into the mainstream of society.

They accomplish so much with so few resources. What they might do with even more resources just stirs the soul.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

IPF faces incredible odds in its mission to see that justice is done for Florida's wrongfully incarcerated -- that is to say, wrongfully *convicted* -- citizens. Some/Most of these people have been imprisoned for decades: witnesses die, move away, or forget the details; prosecutors and detectives move on to other things; judges retire; evidence gets lost or goes bad; legislators and other powerful individuals don't want to seem "soft on crime" and/or risk alienating law enforcement... That IPF has helped so many in its relatively short lifetime so far, while surviving for the most part on bits and pieces of grants and donations, is really a tribute to the commitment and skill of the organization. They communicate very well through their blog and newsletters. They also have on staff a full-time professional social worker to assist exonerees in transitioning to the outside world; I believe this may make them unique among state Innocence Projects.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Great Job what The Innocence Project Of Florida does, many many people look down on prisoners, just because they are behind bars, without wondering...was their trial far? Did the sentence reflects Justice? People should be more aware about nonprofits like this one!!!

Dorothea K.

Donor

Rating: 5

These people are sincere. Previous director Jenny gave me great advice for Sean Killian our wrongfully convicted youngest son, nearly 10 yrs ago. Now that we have exonerated him ourselves because Orlando was too closed minded to bother at that time, we wait for an opportunity to right the wrong done to him when FL stole his years. From 21 to 31 yrs old. letmybrothergo.com is a site with much of his story. All the eyewitnesses said Sean was not involved and not present. Did you know you can be convicted by heresay alone? When other suspects are ignored? When you don't speak Spanish and it was a Spanish phone call which convicted you? Consider yourself lucky you didn't go to trial in 2005 Orlando FL. Now we hope for correction of this horrid error committed by UCF campus police. I support Innocence Project because I am now aware of how easy it is to be innocent and yet incarcerated in Florida. - hugs to all who suffer - as Pete Seeger used to say "Keep on keeping on.." Fifi

Richard121

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a criminal defense lawyer, I follow the work of the Innocence Project of Florida very closely. They work that they do is incredible. The thought of what it must be like for innocent person to rot away in the hellhole of a state prison is hard to comprehend. I thank the Innocence for the incredible work that it does every single day to right the wrongs of these terrible injustices.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have worked with dozens of non-profits for more than 30 years - with IPF for more than 10 yrs. They are by far the hardest working, most professional organization I have ever worked with . And the biggest heart! They care deeply and endlessly for all of their clients and work tirelessly to complete their mission of freeing the wrongfully convicted. I am proud to know them and work with them.

Justin41

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My mother is the assistant director at the Innocence Project of Florida in Tallahassee. I can tell you first hand how hard this group works to help these poor wrongly accused inmates. If it weren't for amazing groups like this, many of these wrongly accused inmates would have no chance at the freedom they deserve. I have witnessed many exonerated inmates and it brings joy to my heart that they have been given another chance at life. The Innocence Project of Florida is an outstanding non-profit organization consisting of many selfless amazing people working steadily behind the scenes to bring justice to these people!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had no personal experience with the Innocence Project of Florida, however, from the things I have read, I have to say this is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to justice that America could have. What could compare with the efforts to clear a person's name of wrongdoing and bring about the freeing of a person wrongfully deprived of their livelihood and indeed life? It is a calling, not just a job. I applaud their work and commitment to remembering that although the wheels of justice grind slowly and sometimes out of sync, someone is paying attention to the grinding and making sure they turn for the eventually for justice to be served.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with the Innocence Project of Florida is relatively small compared to some others who have reviewed though I know the innocence project is a worthy and important cause. IPF serves those in need. The goal to insure justice for all is a lofty one and IPF excels in every way possible.

The Innocence Project of Florida is staffed by wonderful employees and volunteers who all care deeply about those they are helping. This nonprofit works under some difficult conditions set by the nature of the work and considering this the number of people who have been exonerated from wrongful convictions is staggering. I hope that the Innocence Project of Florida can continue to perform this important work.

Conseula G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of--and volunteer at--the Innocence Project of Florida organization for over two years, and my association with this wonderful non-profit has been one which has brought me a newer insight into the legal, social and political plight of society's most vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens.

I had always aspired to reach out to an organization whose primary goals and objectives were akin to my beliefs that there are multitudes of people in society whose circumstances and places in life may be in dire straits and who are in need of assistance far beyond their legal, political and/or social capabilities. The Innocence Project of Florida is such an organization. Their wealth of expertise, experience and professionalism, coupled with their sense of dedication, honesty and truth are all wonderful assets which help foster an atmosphere of humanity to the clients across Florida.

I am both honored and proud to be associated with such a fine organization, and I trust that their work in helping those less fortunate continues for years to come. I enjoy my association with this non-profit and wish to continue supporting them for many years. Their good work across the state of Florida speaks for volumes.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became interested in Innocence Project of Florida while we lived in Tallahassee. We attended a couple of their functions, including one to celebrate the release of an innocent man who lost almost two decades of his life behind bars. It was a total eye-opening experience for my husband an myself.
I am so impressed with everyone I have met at Innocence Project. Their work is so terribly important and I am thankful there is now someone fighting for the injustices in our flawed penal system. Most of us rarely think about how many wrongful convictions there are in the U.S., until one of them hits the news or becomes a top story. The IPF helps these innocent people get released from prison and then to re-start their lives. What an incredible job they do!
I cannot think of an organization I hold in higher regard.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I served on the Board of the Innocence Project of Florida, Inc. ("IPF") for several years, during its earliest, formative stages. It has been incredibly inspiring to watch the organization grow and prosper. The staff, lawyers, social workers, administrators, student interns, volunteers and "exonorees" are among the most hard-working and courageous, and inspirational, people one could ever hope to encounter. IPF has now freed 13 genuinely innocent men from Florida's prisons, including the one who served the longest of anyone in the U.S. I was there to witness him walk out of the courthouse a free man, into his mother's arms in time for Christmas 2009: it was truly one of the most uplifting sights I have ever beheld. This is a truly phenomenal organization which deserves as much support as we can all give it.

Lyndsay B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Innocence Project of Florida is an incredibly important organization that provides life-changing assistance to wrongfully convicted persons incarcerated in Florida prisons. This state leads the nation in the number of innocent people released from death row so the work of IPF is essential in order to prevent the execution of an innocent person; given the current political climate the recent Timely Justice Act, the work of the Innocence Project is of the utmost importance.

Not only does IPF provide legal assistance and fight the uphill battle to release innocent people from prison, but they provide much needed assistance to exonerees after release. Our criminal justice system provides more reentry assistance to parolees than to innocent people, so the help of the IPF is vital. I believe that many of the wrongfully convicted men in Florida would not be nearly as successful after release without this help from IPF. This is possibly one of the most important non-profit organizations in the state of Florida.

I have personally found the people at IPF to be exceptionally generous with their time and extremely helpful. I teach college courses on wrongful convictions and have had at least one student intern with IPF. I have also had the opportunity meet several of the men that IPF has helped release. I hope to continue educating my students to the problems with the criminal justice system and encourage them to get involved with IPF and help right the wrongs of the criminal justice system. I only wish that I could do more to help IPF!

Mike92

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been aware of The Innocence Project for some time, but only in the last several years have I learned more about it.

One of my old and dear college friends is heavily involved and since becoming aware of that, I've evolved into a real fan of the organization. Another dear friend was the department chair in the school of criminology at a major university and his involvement in The Innocence Project has strengthened my resolve.

There are few scourges more egregious than the incarceration of innocent people. The very idea of executing someone is anathema to me on a personal basis. It is my opinion that The Innocence Project is essential to our society. It delivers a check and balance to an intermittently corrupt prosecutorial system.

I view the work of The Innocence Project as one of the greatest services to the country and I fully support their efforts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely loved my time working at the Innocence Project of Florida. The staff members were incredibly warm and open to me, and helped me to learn about their work and all of the nuance behind innocence work. I worked as a development and outreach intern, working with Jackie Pugh to advance knowledge of innocence issues through the IPF blog and to coordinate the planning of IPF's inaugural gala.
The work of IPF is incredibly important and cannot be understated. It is a tragic reality that our justice system does not deliver fairness and equal treatment to all people, and we therefore need organizations to fight against corruption, stereotypes and inequalities within the legal system.