Malcolm Alexander has a complex relationship with time.
He always wants to be early in his new job, which comes from his desire to make a good impression, but his wife said that she must convince him that he doesn't have to be 35 or 40 minutes soon.
It makes sense that he doesn't want to dispose of waste one day, thinking that he had spent the last 38 years in one of the most abused prisons in the country after wrongly convicted.
Alexander, 59, now free of charge, makes a few dollars above the state's minimum wage as a semi-skilled slave for local government, but stands to win more from the state.
Since there are more and more obsolete cases from DNA evidence, and calls for criminal justice reforms at state and federal level, the question of what the government owes to the people who offend. He wrongly dealt with.
Louisiana is one of the largest states with some compensation, though it is not much: the state allows a maximum of $ 250,000, which is paid out over 10 years.
For Alexander, if he awarded him so much, there is only $ 6,580 a year he was in prison.
After being released in January 2018, he married Brenda, his core school teacher and the mother of his now aging child, Malcolm.
When he was 19 years old, Alexander was wrongly charged and convicted of sexual assault. He was a high school he had planned to return to school and become a mechanic or his long-haul trucks like his father.
"I was happy with that path," he said. But the life sentence he was given changed, without the chance of a parole, everything. Now he works with Parrish Jefferson in Louisiana earning $ 10.47 per hour – after a recent pay rise.
"I am, at 59 years of age, more of your retirement age, and I'm doing like a 20 year old man 's job," Alexander said.
"I really wanted to experience mental health, he was really struggling," he admitted. "My finances, it's just, I'm not comfortable. I am – how would you say? – I live in everyday life everyday."
He said that while he was imprisoned in Louisiana State Key – called "Angola," usually after the plantation was previously on that land – he worked jobs he said he paid 2 or 3 hours per hour. He added this by selling a plasma to help buy gifts for his young son then.
Now that he is out, he wants to be able to help, but he can not pay it – as his son bought lunch for himself and his wife the day before. It was out of hand, but it is kindness that Alexander doesn't want to accept anymore.
"The thing that stands for myself is what I'm fighting to try to find it," he said. "The institution was easy because I had no overheads. Here I have overheads and it's accumulating every day."
He made adjustments to the way life outside the prison works – as Brenda's advice continues to stay in the middle lane to avoid people who think he is driving too fast.
But it is that he and so many people in the state must get compensation from the state – but not all -.
From millions to anything, state compensation laws change dramatically
There are 17 states without extinction laws. This means that people who exist – such as those in states with compensation laws – are left to agree whether they have many cases to file a federal civil rights case on unfair conviction and imprisonment.
Jeff Gutman, professor of clinical law at George Washington University Law School who studied compensation compensation, said that the individual must show, for example, that some state actors engaged in constitutional misconduct would like, for example, the police failing to give exclusive evidence to the prosecutor.
In essence, each individual can try to go the legal way of civil rights violations, but not all cases meet that standard. And only people in the 33 states with compensation laws can get money from the state.
In the states that have the laws, most of the agreements seek to get state funds, but not all of them. Gutman explained that, in some of these cases, lawyers were probably "strategic judgment" that a federal civil right case is stronger, or, "in others, that the state's statute is very dangerous and thus not worth it . "
I am, at 59 years of age, more old retirement, and am doing like a 20 year old man 's job.
There is a wide range of contributions from different states, according to data compiled by the Innocence Project.
New York has no limit to what may be awarded to debtors. California allows a maximum award of $ 140 per day wrongly imprisoned, so if Alexander had been wrongly convicted and he was imprisoned there, $ 2 million could be due to him.
Mississippi allows for $ 50,000 a year in prison with a $ 500,000 cap and some attorney fees, and Nebraska also has $ 500,000 cap, but there is no annual condition there.
On the other side of the spectrum, New Hampshire has a $ 20,000 cap. Wisconsin allows $ 5,000 per year wrongly imprisoned but has a cap of $ 25,000, but additional funds can be petitioned by a review board.
Montana allows instruction, room and board at state community college, but there is no amount of money in it.
Loopholes and logistics
Some states have conditions which mean that the person may not be entitled to state compensation if a person has been wrongly convicted and subsequently relieved. In Washington D.C., and in states including Iowa and Oklahoma, the claimant should not have pleaded guilty. Or in Florida, those seeking compensation for wrongly convicted cannot receive any compensation if their record includes previous maronies.
Robert Norris, assistant professor of law and society of criminology at George Mason University and the author "Exonerated," said that there is a moral and practical struggle for determining compensation laws.
"The biggest argument I have ever heard [against compensation laws] The cost is financial, but if you have any faith in your system, then this should not be a problem, "said Norris." Ultimately, we are trying to add value to people who have lost for years, so there is a question of whether any amount of money is adequate or sufficient at last? And where is that line finally? # 39;
Norris said that, in addition to financial assistance, there is a great advantage to states that offer some form of social services to the recently sold person. He pointed out to Texas, which offers a $ 80,000 annuity that is wrongly imprisoned as well as an annuity and some financial assistance as well as legal fees and lost child support payments, such as a state taking a more approach. ample.
"There are basically cut-offs. It's like 'Well, you're innocent, you're not here. Just go,' ' said Norris.
Gutman is of the opinion that more and more states will be taking some compensation.
"Indiana is close to passing someone," he said. "I know that Nevada and Rhode Island are thinking about them. I don't know we will find a place where each state has one, but it is certain that progress has been made."
Although Louisiana's limit of $ 250,000 is not the lowest, Emily Maw, senior counsel at New Orleans Innocence Project, said, "It is one of the worst."
She said, in part, that the difficulty of ascertaining compensation arises even after its dissolution.
"I don't believe it was meant to be too complicated, but the fact that he claims to change it," said Maw.
The long road to payment
This was the case for Jerome Morgan, who had been dissolved after serving 20 years in Angola who had not committed a murder.
Morgan stepped out of prison in January 2014 and was formally removed in May 2016. He ruled that he would be reimbursed in March 2017, but it was not until August 2018 that he had received his first $ 25,000 payment. .
Morgan, 43, told ABC News when he got that payment – more than 4 1/2 years after leaving the prison – he wasn't even enough to have the debt accrued during us cover that time.
"There's not enough money as it is. And then you break down when you don't have access to it until you have enough debt. You know and so what happens is that you pay for some of debt, not even the total debt, ”Morgan said.
Morgan works as a bargee, using techniques he learned in Angola: Instead of using the latest tools, he takes a razor blade and puts it against a plastic comb, adjusting manually. the size of the blade to complete the cut.
He is currently chairing a chair in a friend's barber shop, but he and another friend – and another colleague – are looking to save space and find their own space where they can run their own shop.
Morgan said that 17 states are not "state-of-the-art travesty", but said they could improve other ways.
Apart from getting more money than the $ 250,000 that was being offered by Louisiana, he said, it would be more helpful to get help from a single windfall get.
"It may not have helped me to get into debt, maybe it would take some credit to promote myself," he told ABC News. "It's as simple as it is. When you go into debt, then the credit is increased and you can't get help."
While there is a very good explanation of why the money can be spread out or avoiding the new release, Morgan said that the parsing out of the state is an example.
"Whatever they do with it, that is their business," he said, referring to people who got compensation. "Even if they spend it in one day, that is their business."
Now Morgan said, "he is struggling to" pay rent, struggling to keep my business open "- in stark contrast to where he thought he would be in life at present if he was not wrongly guilty.
"I think I'd have at least two vehicles," said Morgan. "I would like to be able to help my child, my son, my nieces and nephew, you know that things will be saved when they are caught or helped by them. I have nothing."
Although he is 16 years old, Alexander has the same story as he wants a safety net that does not exist.
Maw, who has both represented Alexander and Morgan, is involved in Alexander's compensation effort to get his state, although it is not clear how long it will take. Due to the way in which Alexander was achieved, Maw explained that there are some elements of evidence in which two cases must now be entered in the legal record so that the department that determines compensation should make a claim for compensation.
Alexander stressed that he is grateful to the legal team at the Innocence Project, his wife and son, that he will be able to spend time with his grandson, to donate the strangers to help him get a car – but now he is He focused on "this second chance in life."
"Life is valuable, and you only run the race once. And most people try to make the most of it … but when it is taken away, when the opportunity to live is taken. T And he's taken you out of something that you have not done, which hurts even more, "he said.
"I want to put 38 years together in a few years, because I will be able to reach the age where I won't be able to work, if I live so long," he said. it. "And that's another big fear in my life – and it's the biggest fear of my life really – that I can't provide when I reach that age and not be able to work. This would help years of working for two pence. "