For criminal justice reforms to be successful, it’s critical that law enforcement agencies have input and involvement in the process. The Rhode Island State Police have been an example of this – taking a leadership role and inspiring collaboration across the state to address the causes of injustice.
Last Thursday, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom joined state police leaders at a landmark event at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island to highlight the most common causes of wrongful conviction and to discuss proposed reforms to address them.
An audience of law enforcement officers, investigators, prosecutors, law students, and criminal justice personnel heard from keynote speaker Betty Anne Waters, who detailed the case of her brother, Kenneth Waters, who was sentenced to life in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 1983 and served 18 years until DNA testing proved his innocence in 2001. Betty Anne’s fight to free Kenny is the subject of the upcoming feature film “
” By bringing together a diverse group of interested parties, the Rhode Island Police Department has helped state agencies address the causes of wrongful conviction and to make progress on countless other criminal justice issues.
Saloom gave an overview of issues involved in wrongful conviction cases, State Police Colonel Brendan P. Doherty discussed investigative issues and Deputy Attorney General Gerald Coyne discussed prosecutorial issues.
The event was organized by the Roger Williams University Justice System Training and Research Institute in partnership with the Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General.