The Marshall Project published a profile of Jon Eldan, an attorney who left behind a lucrative career in corporate litigation to found After Innocence, a nonprofit organization dedicated to re-entry assistance and advocacy for exonerees nation-wide.
Eldan first began helping exonerees as part of his volunteer work as a lawyer in California, assisting with the practical needs of those recently released after years of wrongful incarceration.
In less than two years, Eldan has worked with 303 exonerees in 33 different states. He founded After Innocence last July and devotes himself full-time to helping wrongfully convicted individuals. Eldan now works in concert with other members of the Innocence Network to guide their clients through the process of rebuilding their lives post-release.
“It’s a lot of hand-holding, it’s accompaniment, it’s not just giving someone who is returning from prison the name and number for the doctor’s office but rather going with the individual to the doctor’s or assisting the individual in making the initial call,” Marjorie B. Moss of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University told the Marshall Project. “[Eldan] empathizes with our clients and is able to help make sense of a complicated system.”
Eldan told the Marshall Project that he hopes to expand the impact of After Innocence by hiring a staff, but says donors seem less inclined to contribute to an organization that helps exonerees post-release, rather than getting them out of prison.
“What happens after [exoneration] is a far less joyful story, and one that I think people — including some funders — have a hard time focusing on.”
Read the Marshall Project profile here.