Innocence Network Club

In addition to being an excellent resource for all that is 'wrongful convictions,' The Innocence Network has something for everyone to get involved. Including an official Innocence Network Club for students.

With this modality, you will learn how to start an innocence club at your high school, college, or university.


Thank you for your interest in starting an innocence club at your school. This guide is designed to provide individuals and groups who are thinking of starting a club at their high school or undergraduate institution with steps for getting started and suggestions about activities your club could engage. Student engagement in this area is critical, and we hope to inspire young leaders to join our movement. The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are released. The Network also includes organizations that offer post-exoneration support services to individuals who have been proven innocent. Currently, there are nearly 70 member organizations throughout the United States and abroad. For a full list, please visit the Network's website. To join the Innocence Network, organizations must meet our membership criteria, which includes having at least one employee, typically an experienced criminal defense attorney, who is paid for at least 20 hours a week for work on the project. Substantial resources are required to do this work, and while we commend their efforts, the Network does not accept student-run organizations as members. If you are a student at a law school who is interested in encouraging your educational institution to start an innocence organization, please note the first step is securing a faculty member to supervise the project. Please read our Starting an Innocence Organization Guide and consider if you have the time and capacity to start an organization. It is a lot of work! If you are a student at a high school or undergraduate institution who is interested in starting an innocence organization, please consider using this guide to form a club instead. While your club would not be eligible for membership in the Innocence Network (because only pro bono legal and/or exoneree support organizations are eligible), your work would still be valuable to us and may inform whether you decide to pursue law school and/or a career in nonprofit work. Your club might also inspire you and others to join the staff of a Network member organization later.

Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful convictions occur when a person is convicted of a crime they did not commit. Factors that frequently contribute to wrongful convictions are eyewitness misidentification, official misconduct by law enforcement and prosecutors, misapplied forensic science, false confessions, incentivized informant testimony, and ineffective defense counsel. Wrongful 5 convictions also disproportionately affect persons of color, with close to 48% of exonerees being Black.1 

Wrongful convictions work to undermine community faith in the criminal justice system, and communities are put at risk when actual perpetuators are left free to commit more crimes. When wrongful convictions occur, the original victim of the crime never receives justice and a new, innocent victim is created. Wrongful convictions also expose flaws in our criminal justice system, so it is important that we take steps to prevent and fight wrongful convictions so that the justice system may be improved for everyone.

Innocence Club Overview

Functions Your club should look to partner with your local innocence organization if possible. To find the organization nearest you, please visit 

Your club can participate in some or all of the following activities: 

• Education: educating yourselves about wrongful convictions 

• Advocacy: raising awareness by conducting outreach to your community to influence legislation and public policy 

• Fundraising: in coordination with your local organization, raising money to support their work.

For more about the Innocence Network, what they're all about, and the many activities and opportunities they offer, visit their website at

1 Exonerations by Race and Crime, National Registry of Exonerations (2019). 6