“I Am Innocent”: Photos from Centurion Diane Bladecki

April 6 - June 1

For the thousands of wrongfully-convicted men and women in this country, their journey starts with a tremendous shock. They are arrested for a serious crime they had nothing to do with. They ultimately wind up in court and despite all evidence to the contrary, they believe it is only a matter of time before police, prosecutors and the judge will realize their mistake. But that never happens. They are locked away with little chance of ever seeing freedom again while living in the hell of maximum security prisons, surrounded by murderers, rapists, and disinterested prison guards. But they must find a way to adapt as this is where they will live for years and years before someone will hear their cries for justice.

Meanwhile, life on the outside goes on without them. They miss countless graduations, birthdays, deaths, and other pivotal moments. Years later for the few who are able to migrate back home after navigating a hostile criminal justice system, they will find that freedom is very different, almost foreign.

This is another difficult journey: they’re back home and in society, but nothing is the same. And again, they must find a way to adapt and live.

The photos and stories in this exhibit will convey the physical and emotional upheaval associated with losing and re-gaining lost freedom and family. For all of the Centurion exonorees, they also find family in the brothers and sisters who have taken the same journey to freedom.

Sixty-one innocent men and women have been freed by Centurion, the first innocence organization, founded in Princeton in 1980.

As this exhibit illustrates: this could happen to anyone.

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