Each year, social work students are asked to take on a project that benefits the community in some way.
This year, Myranda Pridey, senior in social work, decided to focus her project on individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime.
“I have always been interested in the workings of the criminal justice system and recently became interested in wrongful convictions,” Pridey said. “Last year, I watched ‘When They See Us’ onNetflix, which is a documentary about the Central Park Five who were wrongfully convicted as adolescents of a terrible crime they did not commit. It really opened my eyes to how unjust our justice system has become, such as the prevalence of police misconduct and coercing confessions from individuals under duress.”
Pridey is hosting a fundraiser to raise money which will all be given to Midwest Innocence Project (MIP), based in Kansas City, Mo.
“…It is made up of a team of lawyers and paralegals who help prove the innocence of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted,” Pridey said.
Pridey will accept donations until Friday, April 30.
“I feel very strongly about truly seeking justice for all,” Pridey said. “It breaks my heart when I hear stories of someone being wrongfully convicted of a crime and then sentenced to prison for decades, life, or even receive the death penalty. I cannot even wrap my head around how awful that experience would be. It is also very disheartening that wrongful convictions disproportionately affect people of color.”
Choosing to use her project to help MIP wasn’t a hard decision for Pridey.
“I wanted to choose something more local to raise donations for, and this is about as local as the Innocence Project gets,” Pridey said. “I also wanted to focus more on the Midwest, because I feel like this is the area where a lot of states still have the death penalty on the table and harsher prison sentences.”
Pridey’s goal is to raise $1000 but she also hopes to raise awareness about the topic.
“Reaching my goal amount would be great, but I would really love to see this raise awareness to a huge problem that people often do not stop to think about,” Pridey said. “If something does not directly affect us, we are more likely to brush it off and not see it as the major issue that it is.”
For more information, visit themip.org.
“I would strongly encourage everyone to go to Midwest Innocence Project’s website to educate themselves on the prevalence of wrongful convictions and the effects of such a traumatic event on an individual,” Pridey said. “Also, sharing posts about wrongful convictions and exonerations to help raise awareness about this issue.”