Publication Date



Rutgers University Law Review


The last three decades have seen the rise of an international innocence movement that has forced participants in diverse criminal justice systems to confront their systems’ fallibility, previously thought more theoretical than real. The public acknowledgment of that fallibility has led to the creation of new institutional mechanisms to re-examine old convictions. This short essay prepared for a symposium issue of the Rutgers University Law Review on the theory of criminal law reform compares the error correction institutions created in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, three English-speaking countries with common law roots and an adversarial structure, through the lens of sociological theory. It finds that, consistent with what that literature suggests, the institutions created in each country reflect the circumstances in which “innocence consciousness” arose therein and the pre-existing institutional arrangements and cultural frames. This analysis offers valuable insights for reformers around the world who are considering how to address wrongful convictions.



First Page



Rutgers Law School


Innocence Commission, Innocence Movement, Wrongful Conviction, Exoneration, Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), Criminal Conviction Review Group (CCRG), Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), Conviction Review Unit, Institutional Change, Sociology



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