Current Missouri law allows a person who was wrongfully convicted and exonerated through DNA evidence to be paid for every day they were in prison. The Missouri Senate could soon debate whether to allow someone who is wrongfully convicted a civil cause of action to file a lawsuit, regardless of how the person was exonerated. State Representative Chad Perkins, R-Bowling Green, said the legislation is part of a sweeping corrections bill.

“There’s an element in it that says if you’ve been found wrongfully convicted by the court, it doesn’t mean that charges were dropped, it means you went to court and the court found that when you were convicted before, you were found wrongfully convicted, that that portion of your record is expunged. I think we can all agree that that if the state did you wrong the state ought to make it right,” said Perkins.

Darrell Moore, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys said that this provision does not provide realistic reform for someone found truly innocent.

Another provision of what’s been dubbed the corrections omnibus bill is good time credits. Perkins said that Missouri should reward someone when they are behind bars taking classes, getting job training, and taking self-help classes.

“I think that that’s a trend in corrections,” he explained. “That’s a good trend, you know, learning job skills, you know, bettering yourself as a person. There’s something to be said for that and I think that that’s a good thing as well.

The bill could still reach the floor in the final week of the Missouri Legislative Session.

Click here for more information on House Bill 119.

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