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As cliché as it may sound, Captain Alexis Fecteau believes in justice.  But he also believes that there are some flaws in the system.  Thus, he has devoted a lot of his time researching organizations and movements such as The Sentencing Project

Based on the pilot programs of Atty. Malcolm C. Young in the early ‘80s, The Sentencing Project was incorporated in 1986 as an independent organization.  It was meant to continue the work of Young’s National Legal Aid Defender Association (NLADA) in training and development.  In the late ‘80s, The Sentencing Project expanded its scope to include research and education on topics revolving around criminal justice, adds Captain Alexis Fecteau.

From vandalism to theft to all kinds of misdemeanors and felonies, The Sentencing Project educates participants on policies — federal, state, and local levels.  At times, the organization works with key officers and public officials, as well.  However, most of the time, The Sentencing Project champions policies that would be deemed good for everyone.

The Sentencing Project has been getting mostly positive results and reactions throughout the years, as many key personalities see the movement as one that takes specific cases of the spotlight so that something may be done about them.  According to Captain Alexis Fecteau, many public officials have praised the strength of the organization when it comes to research.

In 2016, on its 30th year, The Sentencing Project made its presence felt on the national stage once again as it shared pertinent data in a national debate that touched on the disparities in arrests, sentencing, and incarceration between racial and ethnic minorities and the rest of the population.  In line with this, The Sentencing Project provided data revealing the stripping of voting rights for people convicted of felonies.

The Sentencing Project also brings attention to issues such as mass incarceration and extended prison time for convicted felons, as well as the excess use of taxpayer’s money for inefficient correctional methods.  Captain Alexis Fecteau notes that one of The Sentencing Project’s most praised efforts was its 2016 state-by-state data on 6.1 million voters who lost their voting privileges because of their convictions.  A huge part of these numbers, around 4 million, had already completed their sentences long before the voting period.

About

Greetings! I am Captain Alexis Fecteau, a criminal law student who wants to share my personal views on today’s criminal justice system as well as my insights on the latest news on court cases, the penitentiary system, and policing.  I feel the need to share knowledge and information at a time when some people show little confidence in the justice system and the men and women who uphold the law.

Knowing facts is key when talking about the criminal justice system.  By looking at the numbers, we can ascertain that our problems are real and that they are getting out of hand.  State prisons are overpopulated, very few states are coming up with reforms to decrease inmate population, racial inequality is clear as glass, the list goes on. Not only should we look at the numbers; I believe it is also important to know how laws work.  We have to know which laws we follow as a society which have led to the current situation.  Before we commit to fixing things, we must understand the flaws. We need this in order to come up with real solutions.

I am also a staunch supporter of The Innocence Project.  Founded in 1992, The Innocence Project contains articles on wrongful convictions which have been overturned by lawyers and law enforcement, new technologies that aid prosecution, as well as the latest developments that can help avert injustice.

It is easy to sow disdain toward the government, law enforcement, and the men and women behind the criminal justice system.  But we must choose to take the hard road and become catalysts for change.  I believe that, in order to move forward, we have to be informed.  Before we call out our congressmen and women to implement the changes we want to see in governance, we must take it upon ourselves to understand the ills of the system, why they don’t work, and how we can move forward.

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The Innocence Project

An overview of the Innocence Project

Spending a lot of time researching all things criminal justice, Captain Alexis Fecteau has been fascinated by a movement called the Innocence Project.  The movement looks closely on cases that have DNA evidence ready for testing and retesting, which happens in around 5 to 10% of criminal cases. 

Many participants of the Innocence Project are also affiliated with the Innocence Network.  These individuals help in exonerating prisoners who were wrongly accused in cases without DNA testing.

Helping people who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in the U.S. is only part of what participants in the Innocence Project do.  The team behind the Innocence Project is also committed to learning more about the law and researching ways to help the wrongfully convicted, notes Captain Alexis Fecteau.

While a lot of the cases people from the Innocence Project are handling seem like uphill battles, to say the least, their successful campaigns have been nothing short of impressive.  In fact, there were instances wherein people due to die on death row had their sentences overturned in large part thanks to the efforts of those in the Innocence Project.

As of January 2019, it has been reported that over 360 people convicted of serious crimes had their sentencing overturned because of DNA testing, which started in 1989.  It is also important to note that 20 of these people were on death row, that 99% of the wrongfully convicted were male, and that seven out of every 10 wrongfully convicted came from ethnic or minority groups. 

Captain Alexis Fecteau shares some important statistics that the Innocence Project discovered on those who were exonerated.

  • The average sentence served for those who were exonerated was 14 years.

  • In over 40% of these DNA cases, law enforcers were able to find the actual person who committed the crime.

  • Approximately seven out of every 10 of those exonerated through DNA testing have been financially compensated for their time in prison.

  • The federal government, 27 states, and Washington D.C. have passed laws providing some level of financial compensation to wrongfully convicted people.

While the Innocence Project was born in New York City, the movement accepts cases from anywhere in the U.S., explains Captain Alexis Fecteau.  Most of the clients are considered on or below the poverty line, and around 3,000 prisoners write the Innocence Project every year to ask help regarding their cases.