One of the reasons the number of exonerations is so high is due to both
the Dallas Conviction Integrity Unit and the Harris County CIU. Although
the Dallas Unit had no exonerations in 2014, it is the longest existing
CIU, created in 2007. The Harris County CIU contributed to 29 of the 33 exonerations in Harris
County in 2014, cases in which the defendant pled guilty even when there
were no illegal drugs. This new support of looking back at prior convictions and using DNA evidence
or other means to exonerate people falsely convicted is refreshing, and
a big step in the right direction for a country has the largest population
of prisoners on the planet.
Because these Conviction Integrity Units work in conjunction with District
Attorneys, it is easier to have cooperation from prosecutors and law enforcement
on the original crime. This makes for an easier investigative process,
while still seeking to administer justice as well as determine how the
system can be improved in the future. After all, the point of CIUs is not only to exonerate wrongly convicted
people, but it is also to help develop the best practices for prosecutors
so as to avoid convicting innocent people and instead attempt to do justice
in each situation.
There are now 24 CIUs spread throughout the country and in 2015, they were
responsible for 39 percent of overturned wrongful convictions. The problem extends out of Texas, but Texas had the first of these units
and now leads the country with 5 different counties having a CIU. While the problem of wrongful convictions has definitely not been solved,
the attention that it has received in the past few years has led to more
people being exonerated than ever before. This shows that while progress
may be slow, at least there is progress.
 E. Ann Carson, “Prisoners in 2014,”
U.S. Department of Justice, September 2015, 33.
 “Population Data (Projections) for Texas Counties, 2014,”
Texas Department of State Health Services, accessed June 29, 2016, http://www.dshs.texas.gov/chs/popdat/ST2014.shtm.
 Carson, “Prisoners in 2014.”
 The National Registry of Exonerations, “Exonerations in 2014,”
Michigan Law, (January 27, 2015), http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations_in_2014_report.pdf.
 “Highest to Lowest - Prison Population Total,”
World Prison Brief, accessed June 30, 2016, http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All.
 “Conviction Integrity,”
Tarrant County, Texas, accessed June 30, 2016, http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/criminal-district-attorney/criminal-division/ConvictionIntegrity.html?linklocation=Areas%20of%20Responsibility&linkname=Conviction%20Integrity.
 Noah Fromson, “Conviction Integrity Units Expand Beyond Lone Star
The Texas Tribune, March 12, 2016, https://www.texastribune.org/2016/03/12/conviction-integrity-units-expand-beyond-texas-roo/.