How much does the innocence project cost?

This is about the US one.

I know they are funded from a number of sources, but how much is their budget overall.

I thought they were always freeing people, but they’ve freed less than 300 in 20 years - about 15 per year out of a prison pop that wiki says is 2,266,800.
I’m curious about how much their budget is, so I can work out cost per prisoner freed.

The Innocence Project is a non-profit tax exempt organization under 501©(3) of the IRS code.

From the Innocence Project FAQ

I found numbers from their 2009 Annual Report showing income of US$12,082,138 against the same in expenses.
I found numbers from their 2010 Annual Report showing income of US$12,321,257 against US$12,162,596 in expenses.

I think that less innocent convicts they are able to find the better ( provided they are doing thorough job ).

I hope You’re not saying that there should be a limit per prisoner.
If the prisoner is innocent it should cost whatever is needed ( but if the DNA proves the SOB did it after all, he should pay it all back! )

Remember, it could be You.

There very well may be some awareness benefits that indirectly arise from this program that may be hard to factor in. I feel like the existence of this program is important.

IIRC, lawyers working for the Project are often lawyers and law-students working for free. Given that lawyers are usually the most expensive part of trying a case, most of the “income” of the Project is probably in the form of donated hours rather then cash.

From a different angle: It costs something like 30k a year to keep someone incarcerated. So assuming all the people they’ve freed would still be in prison this year, they saved the gov’t something like 10 million dollars this year.

(of course, a lot of freed prisoners understandably go on to sue the Justice system, so I’m not sure the gov’t is actually saving much money).

It’s not really surprising that they spend around $12m a year to free on average 15 people a year. Anything involving the court system is expensive, I don’t know if the Innocence Project is run with lawyers working pro bono, but if not that right there is a big expense. Additionally they would need a staff of researchers to actually find persons who are good candidates to try and get freed. Then all the investigative work and research that has to be done on each candidates case, along with all the money spent testing each candidate’s case…$12m a year really seems pretty darn efficient actually.

It also isn’t surprising they free so few people. Of the 2.6m inmates the vast, overwhelming majority are factually guilty. Probably over 99%.

Of the ones who aren’t guilty, a subset of those can be demonstrably shown to have been improperly convicted and freed. So at least some portion of the innocent in prison, because of unique circumstances, probably cannot be freed by DNA testing or various legal appeals. Unfortunate, but it happens.

Of the innocent who can be freed, I’m sure the innocence project does its best to get as many of them in each year as it can. That being said, they aren’t perfect. They may only free 15 each year, but they probably try to free people who they fail to get freed (either because the DNA testing ends up proving the person was guilty or for some reason they just fail in their efforts) and those cases will cost probably just as much as the ones that result in releases from prison.