Tabitha Pollock was asleep when her boyfriend killed her 3-year-old daughter. Charged with murder because prosecutors believed she should have known of the danger, Pollock spent more than six years in prison before the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the conviction, says the Washington Post. Five years later, Pollock remains in limbo. With a felony record, she cannot become a teacher, as she wants. She cannot collect damages from the Illinois government. To fully clear their names, a dozen former Illinois inmates who have been exonerated need an official pardon, which only the governor can give. Pollock, 37,applied in 2002 but has received no word.
Pollock’s predicament is becoming more common across the U.S. as more people are exonerated. The New York-based Innocence Project has tallied 215 wrongful convictions in the that have been reversed on the basis of DNA evidence. Many ex-prisoners are seeking redress from the governments that mistakenly jailed them — but they are kept waiting, whether because of a slow bureaucracy or a lack of procedures or political will to handle their cases. When the authorities do not certify innocence, “in effect, the sentence just goes on,” said Stephen Saloom the Innocence Project. Noting that legislators are recognizing “the lingering problems” of the exonerated after their release, 22 states provide compensation in one form or another. “A recent trend is not only to compensate at a monetary value per year incarcerated, but also to provide immediate services upon release,” he said Saloom.