Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) announced new legislation over the weekend that would increase payout amounts to exonerees.
The legislation, called the Justice for Exonerees Act, would increase the amount of money wrongly convicted exonerees in the federal prison system receive by 40%, raising total yearly payouts to $70,000.
Waters said the necessary change accounts for inflation, since the payout amount has not been updated in nearly 20 years.
“Since 1989, there have been almost 3,000 individuals exonerated who have collectively lost 25,000 years of their lives serving time for crimes they did not commit,” Waters said in a press release. “For the first time in two decades, my bill would update the maximum amount of damages a wrongfully convicted individual in the federal system may receive by forty percent. While my legislation takes an important step forward, let me be clear that no amount of money could ever be enough to make up for the time and opportunities stolen from exonerees.”