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Lawmakers look to pass legislation to benefit those wrongfully convicted in Kentucky

House Bill 691 would create a wrongful convictions fund, making those who were wrongly convicted eligible for up to $137 for each day they were imprisoned.

KENTUCKY, USA — According to legal experts, people who are wrongly convicted in Kentucky are released without a safety net, pointing to a lack of a compensation fund for victims of our criminal justice system to help them get back on their feet. 

WHAS11's FOCUS team highlighted that exact problem late last year and now, there’s a fight for change. 

“I met a lot of people you know, during these years of my life, having horrible circumstances," Johnetta Carr, a criminal justice reform advocate, said. "You are definitely one that has impacted my life for the better."

Those difficult years Carr mentioned were from when she was locked behind bars for a crime she said she had nothing to do with.

Late last month, Kentucky lawmaker Jason Nemes filed House Bill 691 to provide a compensation fund for people who have been wrongly convicted. Since then, Carr has been advocating for it to become law. 

If passed, it would create a legal process to recognize wrongful convictions.

HB 691 would create a wrongful convictions fund, making those who were wrongly convicted eligible for up to $137 for each day they were imprisoned.

Credit: WHAS11
Kentucky Hous Bill 691 to address wrongful convictions.

It would also set up a process for some court fees to finance the compensation fund. 

“I'm excited, you know, for my future, and I'm excited for exonerees and future wrongfully convicted," Carr said. "Wrongful convictions is not a race issue, nor a specific party issue. It is a human issue."

Carr said wrongful convictions reflect a systemic issue that highlights the need for criminal justice reform.

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