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Our Work

We are determined to end wrongful convictions.

We pursue true justice by freeing innocent people and reforming our system. Our work involves:

  • Providing free legal and investigative services to people who are actually innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.
  • Advocating for policy reform to prevent future wrongful convictions.
  • Supporting exonerees, their loved ones, and anyone impacted by the devastating effects of wrongful conviction.
Truth Matters

Freeing the Innocent.

+ We help innocent people who have no access to legal services.

+ The path to exoneration is long, complicated, and expensive.

+ Innocent men and women are living free because of our work.

We provide free investigative and legal services in cases of factual innocence. Our aim is to discover the truth so innocent people can be where they belong—at home, with their families and friends, living their lives.

It takes years to exonerate or free someone. Each case we investigate comes with unique challenges that require dedication and patience. Our team often spends years locating and requesting evidence, seeking out and interviewing new witnesses, and getting old case files and transcripts from former attorneys.

We have helped free 20 innocent people across the state who collectively served more than 100 years for crimes they did not commit, and we have secured the release of nine more innocent people. Still, we receive more than 500 requests for assistance each year, and that number is growing.

About Innocence Work

Advocacy + Education

We’re improving the criminal justice system.

Guided by principles rather than specific outcomes, we are committed to holding our justice system accountable. We seek to identify and correct problems that perpetuate wrongful convictions, such as mistaken eyewitness identifications, coercive interrogations that lead to false confessions, and scientifically unsupported techniques such as bite mark evidence and other “junk science.”

Our efforts are reforming laws and policies.

Together with our exonerees, we’ve successfully advocated for policies and practices to identify, prevent, and rectify wrongful convictions in Washington State, including policies to:

+ Improve eyewitness identification procedures.

+ Mandate preservation of crime scene evidence.

+ Promote access to post-conviction DNA testing.

+ Scrutinize jailhouse informants and other incentivized witnesses.

+ Compensate those who are actually innocent for every year lost in prison through Washington’s Wrongly Convicted Persons Act.

Education is critical to ending wrongful convictions.

We serve as a nonpartisan resource for judges, attorneys, the media, and the general public, sharing information about how wrongful convictions have happened and how we have secured freedom for our clients. Our decades of research and partnership with other Innocence Network organizations around the world give us access and insight into the problems within our justice system, and how to fix them.

Students join us in fighting for innocent people.

Through our legal clinic with the University of Washington (UW) School of Law, students investigate cases, interview clients and witnesses, and draft and argue legal motions. Students develop skills in problem-solving, interviewing, fact-investigation, negotiation, and trial preparation.



Truth Series

Supporting Recovery.

After they are freed or exonerated, our clients face significant struggles.

Spending time in prison is incredibly traumatic. Not only have innocent people lost their jobs and financial security, they are stigmatized for serving time in prison. In many cases, after years in prison, exonerees have also lost connection with their families and communities.

We help our exonerated and freed clients rebuild their lives.

We provide social and emotional support and connect exonerees to services and resources so they can get back on their feet and return to the lives they’ve been missing. We also help our freed clients connect with a community of exonerees who can provide a type of support and understanding that no one else can.

We support all who are impacted by wrongful convictions.

Everyone loses when the wrong person is convicted of a crime. The victim of the original crime does not get justice, while the actual perpetrator remains at large, in some cases victimizing others. We connect survivors with organizations dedicated to providing original crime victims and their loved ones support through the trauma of a wrongful conviction.


Questions often asked about our work.

What is Washington Innocence Project?

Washington Innocence Project is an independent nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to men…

How did Washington Innocence Project get started?

In 1997, Jackie McMurtrie founded Washington Innocence Project—then called Innocence Project Northwest—at UW School of…

What is Washington Innocence Project’s relationship with the University of Washington?

We have transitioned from being a project of the University of Washington to an independent…

What is Washington Innocence Project’s relationship to other innocence organizations?

While we support and encourage each other, innocence organizations are financially independent organizations. We all…

Why did Washington Innocence Project become an independent nonprofit?

Our new status as a 501(3)(c) organization gives us more flexibility to raise funds, advocate…

How is Washington Innocence Project funded?

Washington Innocence Project is primarily funded by private support from foundations, corporations, and individuals as…

How are donations used?

The path to exoneration is long and costly—and gifts of every size help. Donations help…

How can I help free the innocent?

There are many ways that you can be a part of our work. Visit our…

What is your organization’s privacy policy?

Our organization takes its privacy policy seriously and takes steps to protect and ensure the…

How do I request assistance from Washington Innocence Project?

Washington Innocence Project provides free legal services to innocent prisoners in Washington State. Visit our…

Do you speak for clubs, organizations, or events?

We love telling our story and the stories of our freed clients and exonerees. Contact…

Are there organizations doing similar work in other states and countries?

Yes! There are innocence organizations dedicated to freeing innocent prisoners around the world. To learn…

How do people request assistance?

An innocent person serving time for a Washington State felony conviction may submit an application…

Can I submit an application on behalf of someone else?

Yes, but we always prefer receiving applications in the wrongfully convicted person’s own words. If…

Can you send someone in prison an application for me?

Of course! Complete the Application Request Form on our Get Help page and we'll be…

I mailed you an application. Why haven’t I heard anything?

You should receive a letter acknowledging receipt within 90 days. After that, the time and…

Can I talk to someone at Washington Innocence Project about my application or the application of a loved one?

Unfortunately, no. Washington Innocence Project has a small staff and does not have the resources…

How does Washington Innocence Project decide which cases to take?

To be considered for assistance, innocent people in Washington State who are wrongfully serving time…

I meet all of your criteria. Why did my application get rejected?

Unfortunately, due to limited resources and strict legal constraints, we cannot pursue every case that…

Does Washington Innocence Project only take cases with DNA evidence?

Some innocence organizations, such as the Innocence Project in NYC, focus exclusively on cases with…

I don’t live in Washington. Who do I contact for information about innocence help in my state?

Washington Innocence Project is only able to provide legal assistance to innocent prisoners in Washington…

What is an exoneration?

An exoneration is a case in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime…

What is the difference between an exoneree and a freed client?

No matter what, two of the things that all of our exonerees and freed clients…

How long does it take to exonerate someone?

On average nationally, the innocent spend 14 years in prison before exoneration and release. Washington…

What is Washington Innocence Project’s stance on the death penalty?

We know all too well that innocent people go to prison. The Death Penalty Information…

Is Washington Innocence Project soft on crime?

No. We believe that people who commit crimes should be brought to justice, and that…