Exonerees in Texas, which leads the nation in freeing the wrongly convicted, soon will become instant millionaires under a new state law that took effect this week, reports the Associated Press. Exonerees will get $80,000 for each year they spent behind bars. The compensation also includes lifetime annuity payments that for most of the wrongly convicted are worth between $40,000 and $50,000 a year – making it by far the nation’s most generous package.
Exonerees also receive an array of social services, including job training, tuition credits and access to medical and dental treatment. Though 27 other states have some form of compensation law for the wrongly convicted, none comes close to offering the social services and money Texas provides. The annuities are “a way to guarantee these guys () payments for life as long as they follow the law,” said Kevin Glasheen, a Lubbock attorney representing a dozen exonerees.