First Advisor

Kelsey S. Henderson

Term of Graduation

Spring 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice




Compensation for judicial error -- Public opinion, Compensation (Law) -- Public opinion, Ex-convicts -- Services for -- Public opinion, Vindication, False imprisonment



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 70 pages)


Many exonerees do not receive compensation from the state after they are found innocent and released because most states have exclusionary laws that bar exonerees from receiving compensation. This thesis examined public perceptions of exclusionary laws and addressed the broader question of who deserves compensation (according to community members). Online participants (n = 225) read an article about a fictional exoneree who either pleaded guilty or was convicted by a jury trial and who received a subsequent conviction or did not receive a subsequent conviction. An exoneree with a subsequent conviction was perceived as less deserving of financial compensation, less deserving of support services, and was rated less favorable than an exoneree who did not have a subsequent conviction. There were no differences found between exonerees who pleaded guilty and exonerees who were convicted by a jury trial. Overall, these findings suggest that community members are less supportive of compensation for exonerees who have subsequent involvement with the justice system. These results illustrate possible biases the public has against an already marginalized population who has experienced a miscarriage of justice. Because public opinion can affect policy change, these results have significant implications when it comes to exclusionary criteria and exoneree compensation policies.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier