Listen, Learn, Create – Racial Justice through the Lens of Innocence
Clinical Law Professor
The Korey Wise Innocence Project (KWIP) at Colorado Law seeks to overturn the convictions of factually innocent individuals in Colorado and bring those lessons to the community with the goal of creating meaningful reform in our criminal justice system. One dominant theme found in cases of wrongful convictions is racism. African-Americans comprise only 13% of the population but are 47% of people who have been exonerated, due to implied biases, systematic racism and purposeful discrimination. KWIP is striving to bring these realities to light and push for systematic changes to our justice system to prevent these wrongs. One new aspect of our program is to create a racial justice program that reflects our goal of bringing to light how racism has led to wrongful convictions in Colorado. We have three distinct aspects of our program. First, we will work with the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar to work directly on criminal justice reform by developing legislation focused on addressing systematic racism in the criminal justice system.
Second, we will work with LYRIC. LYRIC is a small non-profit that goes into high schools across Colorado and teaches students their rights when interacting with the criminal justice system. KWIP will work with LYRIC to create a racial justice curriculum focused on systematic racism and how it leads to wrongful convictions.
Finally, we will work with the Prison Arts Initiative at the University of Denver. PAI is a program where inmates in the Department of Corrections along with faculty at PAI collaborate to create artwork. They host a pod-cast, write and produce theater, do visual arts and publish a magazine. Together we will create an arts project expressing the personal story of racism in the justice system.
Each of these aspects of our program have different timeframes and some aspects, such as the legislative advocacy that will be done internally and some will be available for the public to see. We expect to offer our new curriculum to high school students in the spring of 2022. We expect that we will be displaying our arts project by the early summer of 2022. When all of these components are created we will open them up to the general public through our web site and through updates to this site. We are excited for our work to come and look foward to the stories we can share, together.