Legislation Introduced to Compensate Victims of Wrongful Imprisonment

A State Representative from Fairbanks has filed legislation intended to protect Alaskans who are wrongfully convicted of a crime and serve time in prison. House Bill 352 was put forward by Representative Scott Kawasaki.

The Bill would create a process that would allow victims of overturned criminal convictions to request compensation from the State for the time they served in prison. The compensation could be up to $50,000 a year with a cap of $2 million. To qualify the wrongfully convicted person must have served time in prison and then been exonerated. That can come in the form of a retrial, dismissed charges, or an executive pardon because the person was innocent.

If the bill is ultimately approved, Alaska would become the 13th State to have some form of compensation for wrongfully convicted persons. House Bill 352 has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.