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Psychological Consequences of Wrongful Conviction in Women

Zieva Konvisser
Zieva Konvisser

We are delighted to be able to post an article written by Zieva Dauber Konvisser, Ph.D., which first appeared in the DePaul Journal for Social Justice, (Spring 2012), 5(2), 221-294. Dr. Konvisser has been a supporter of Proving Innocence for several years. She is an independent trauma researcher and Fellow of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA. Her research focuses on studying the human impact of traumatic events, like terrorism, genocide and war. After becoming acquainted with the work of Dr. Marvin Zalman and groups such as PI and the Innocence movement as a whole, it was a natural development for her to expand into examining the psychological ramifications on wrongfully convicted women.

Anyone familiar with the problem of wrongful convictions knows that the problem of helping exonerees back into society is no small matter. The damage has been done and it is not a matter of simply picking up the pieces from where one left off.

In the abstract, she says, "Only a few studies have investigated the psychological consequences of wrongful conviction; several others have examined the psychological consequences of incarceration and its impact on reentry and reintegration, primarily for men. For women who have been wrongfully convicted and subsequently released from prison into the free world, there are further indignities and unique issues: having to deal with the deep personal loss of loved ones along with criminal charges; the absence of DNA evidence, making convictions harder to fight; stigmatization by prosecutors and the media; and unique emotional and medical needs."

Dr. Konvisser does not stop with examining the trauma these people experience. In her article she lists meaningful strategies that have helped those who have survived. Her work is a great aid not only for women exonerees, but the people who seek to support them, including policy and law makers who wish to see a more just and compassionate response by society.

The article, as first published in the DePaul Journal for Social Justice in its entirety, may be downloaded here.


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