The journey from death row to a normal life is a lonely one for former inmates who have been cleared of murders they did not commit. Walking out the prison door is but the first difficult step. People like Alan Gell, sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, are given a pat on the back, possibly some financial compensation and not much else.
Earlier coverage of the new book referenced in this editorial begins at the link.
What they really need is help adjusting to the outside world.
Two University of North Carolina system professors have done a public service with their book, "Life After Death Row," which examines the difficult transition from the grimmest of cell blocks to complete freedom – and absolutely no guidance as to what comes next.
Kimberly Cook, who heads the UNC Wilmington sociology and criminology department, and Sandra Westervelt, associate professor of sociology at UNC Greensboro, relate the struggles of Gell and others who have found themselves going from an institutionalized life where every decision is made for you into an unfamiliar world that expects you to get on with your life without missing a beat.
It doesn't work that way, and it is a disgrace that, after wrongly imprisoning someone, our justice system does not have procedures to help exonerated inmates make that transition. In North Carolina, it is not as though it would break the bank to provide some help.