The Georgia Innocence Project is a small, independent nonprofit that relies on grants and individual donations to raise its annual budget. The process of researching, investigating, and litigating our cases is often enormously costly and time-consuming. Exonerations take not weeks or months, but years, and sometimes even decades. Every contribution we receive, no matter how small, helps us in our mission to free the innocent imprisoned.
The American legal system functions based on the assumption that juries, judges, and prosecutors do not make mistakes. An indigent prisoner loses their right to a state-appointed attorney after their direct appeal. This means that the imprisoned innocent have precious few legal resources. If they cannot afford an attorney, they can either teach themselves the law and try to handle their own cases, or rely on small, independent nonprofits like the Georgia Innocence Project. The work that the Georgia Innocence Project does is essential, and we cannot undertake this work without your support.
The American legal system, as it currently functions, does not give a voice to the imprisoned innocent. You can.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
GIVE MONEY. Even the smallest donations help: a gift of just $5, for example, buys the postage we need to mail letters to ten inmates. To make a donation, and to learn more about the work that your gift to the Georgia Innocence Project will help to fund, go here.
ORGANIZE A BIRTHDAY BEYOND BARS Circle of Giving. If there is someone in your life who cares about the plight of the imprisoned innocent, who is passionate about social justice, or who simply wants to make the world a better place, there is no better way to show them your appreciation for their integrity and compassion than by organizing a BIRTHDAYS BEYOND BARS Circle of Giving.
Recruit friends and family to give the birthday gift of freedom by donating to GIP in honor of you loved one’s birthday. Dedicate your donation on the Donate page of our website and have one person send us a flattering picture of the birthday recipient. We’ll acknowledge the Birthday Guy or Gal on our social media, and send them a special note of thanks with a list of the members in their Circle of Giving whose donations helped us in our quest for justice.
Even the smallest of gifts will mean the world to your loved one--and will mean a world of difference to us, and to the imprisoned innocent who we are working to set free.
GIVE TIME. Go to our volunteer form to learn about how you can volunteer for the Georgia Innocence Project.
LEARN. Learn about innocence issues. Learn about criminal justice reform organizations and prisoner advocacy groups that you can aid, both within your community and nationwide. If you want to help an innocence project but are unable to volunteer with GIP, see if there is one in your region.
TALK. Discuss innocence issues with your friends and family, and to turn disagreements into meaningful conversations. Loved Undisclosed and not sure where to turn next? Unite members of your community with a book club or movie night.
VOTE. Every state allows voters to elect legal professionals and law enforcement officials, and learning about about these candidates’ policies can help you to advance the cause of criminal justice reform at a local level.
WRITE. Contact your elected officials. Tell them you care about innocence issues, and ask them what they’re doing to help exonerate the imprisoned innocent, and reform the criminal justice system. Go here to find out how to contact your elected officials and make your voice heard.
GIVE THOUGHT. You don’t have to be a lawyer or a politician to help reform the criminal justice system. The first change you make can be to the way you see the world.
When you read a headline or watch a news story about a criminal case, ask yourself whether you are maintaining the presumption of innocence when you think about the defendant. Ask yourself whether you have all the facts you need to understand the case. Ask yourself whether the story is being reported in a way that encourages you to assume the defendant is guilty, and ask yourself whether the real story might be more complicated than the one you see on the news.
If a story moves you, think about what larger issues it makes visible. If someone is found guilty of a crime they did not commit, then their conviction was made possible by problems that afflict the criminal justice system as a whole, and not just a single case.
Finishing a story is only the beginning. Every story you encounter gives you a chance to understand not just the society in which it took place, but that society’s problems. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the imprisoned innocent, whose stories can help us to understand not just one person’s experiences, but the most pressing problems in our criminal justice system.