Hardcover with dust jacket, 128 pages, 325 x 265 mm
The Innocents documents the stories of individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit, photographed at sites that had particular significance to their illegitimate conviction: the scene of misidentification, the scene of arrest or the scene of the crime. The primary cause of wrongful conviction is mistaken identification. A victim or eyewitness identifies a suspected perpetrator through law enforcement’s use of photographs and lineups. This procedure relies on the assumption of precise visual memory. But, through exposure to sketches, mugshots, Polaroids, and lineups, eyewitness memory can change. In the history of these cases, photography offered the criminal justice system a tool that transformed innocent citizens into criminals. The subjects are all ex-cons who were exonerated through DNA testing and then released after serving time. Some had been sentenced to life, some to death. Through Simon's interviews with each, the men and women in this book confront the paradox of innocence and imprisonment, the inability to recover the years stolen from them, and the states' unconscionable refusal to compensate them or ease their traumatic transition to civilian life.