For a state perhaps best known as the leader in executing murderers, Texas has another distinction: It is the most generous in compensating those who were wrongly locked up, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The state has paid more than $65 million to 89 wrongfully convicted people since 1992. If legislation being discussed at the Texas Capitol becomes law, that tab could soon grow.
“The justice system in Texas had fundamental flaws, and this is the result,” said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, a longtime champion of the falsely imprisoned. “At this point, I don't think anyone can seriously doubt that we had a problem — a big problem.” Under a law signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2009, some exonerees will receive $80,000 each year for the rest of their lives and are eligible for the same health insurance as employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, where the ex-prisoners did their time. Twenty-six other states and the District of Columbia also provide compensation to exonerees — but they pay less, according to statistics compiled by the Innocence Project.