Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Bill May Further Aid Wrongly Convicted

Bill May Further Aid Wrongly Convicted

That's the title of an article in today's Houston Chronicle reporting on legislation introduced by State Senator Rodney Ellis which would increase compensation for men and women wrongly convicted and incarcerated. LINK

Legislation to increase state payments to men and women wrongfully imprisoned and to impose a fee on immigrants who transfer money to their home countries were among bills filed in the Senate on Monday.

SB 262 by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would double to $50,000 the amount of compensation the state pays someone for every year spent in prison because of a wrongful conviction.

It would provide a $100,000 payment for every year an innocent person spends on death row and would remove the current $500,000 cap on total payments.

"We need to do more to help these Texans rebuild their shattered lives," Ellis said. "Money obviously will not make up for the past, but Texas can help these people move forward by boosting compensation for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned."

He said the figures in his bill would match what federal law provides for inmates wrongfully convicted in federal courts.

Ellis sponsored the existing state compensation law, which provides for $25,000 for each year an innocent person spends in prison, with a payment limit of $500,000. It was enacted in 2001.

The text of Senate Bill 262, in Adobe .pdf format, is here.

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