I think we all are relieved to see any prisoner that is wrongfully convicted be exonerated and let them get on with their lives. Such was the case with Alan Northrop and Larry Davis, convicted in 1993 of rape and kidnap.
The Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington Law School was able to get the courts to review DNA evidence under the latest methods and it was seen that neither mans DNA matched. Charges were dropped and they were freed.
Unfortunately, they were freed in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns ever. Northrop found work at $12.00 a hour in a metal fabricating plant and Davis remains unemployed, working only 3 days since his release he says.
With the help of the Innocence Project Northwest, Rep. Tina Orwall (D. 33rd LD) is drafting a bill to provide exonerated inmates compensation to the tune of “$50,000 per year spent in prison, plus $50,000 more for every year spent on death row and $25,000 for every year on community supervision or as a registered sex offender.”
Additionally, the proposed legislation would “include providing health care and paying child support obligations incurred by prisoners during their incarceration,” and might well also “guarantee free tuition at state schools for the former prisoners and their children.”
Upon release, Alan Northrop was hit with owing $111,000 in back child support, half of which was forgiven by DHS, the other going to his ex.
Alan Northrup, one of those exonerated last year says, “They owe us – somebody does. I’m struggling right now. I need every penny.”
Rep. Orwall said, “The bill is about fairness. I know the money can’t make up for the losses they’ve experienced, but it could help them rebuild their lives. They really need a certain amount of support and resources.”
With the state facing a $4.6 Billion budget gap, payments would not begin until 2014.