"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

Compensation Laws

U.S. Compensation Statutes
Currently 28 jurisdictions have statutes providing for compensation. Bellow is a chart displaying the compensation statutes currently in effect, and the basic eligibility requirements and the maximum benefits provided under each law.

Guidelines for Fair Compensation Statutes

  • ABA Resolution on Compensating the Wrongly Convicted – The American Bar Association recently approved a resolution urging federal, state, local and territorial jurisdictions to enact statutes to adequately compensate persons who have been convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. The ABA resolution also outlines factors to be considered in drafting a compensation statute.
  • The Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School in New York City has drafted model compensation statute, entitled An Act Concerning Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment.
  • The Innocence Project also recently issued a report on the need for fair compensation entitled Making Up For Lost Time: What the Wrongfully Convicted Endure and How to Provide Fair Compensation that finds compensation standards are woefully under-developed.

For more information on compensation, please visit the Innocence Porject page here.  

Compensation Statutes Chart

AL 2001 § 659 (S.B. 166) $50,000 per year minimum, additional sum at discretion of legislature Two Years Exonerees with post-exoneration felony conviction ineligible
CA 2000 § 4900-4906; Amd. 316 $100 per day Two Years 





 § 54-102uu

 Actual damages; reintegration expenses

 No Limit



DC 1981 § 2-421 Actual damages No Limit Guilty pleas ineligible unless prompted by fear of death penalty
FL 2008 §S.B. 0756 $50,000 per year, 2 million maximum; attorney's fees, waiver of tuition and fees for up to 120 hours of instruction Two Years Felony conviction or civil actions pertaining to wrongful convictions disqualifies
IL 2008  § 705 $85,350 for those who served up to five years; $170,000 for those who served between five and 14 years; $199,150 for those who served more than 14 years; attorney's fees No Limit 
IO 2008 § 663A.1 $50 per day, lost wages ($25,000 maximum), attorney's fees Two Years Guilty pleas ineligible
LA 2008 § 572.8 $15,000 per year, $150,000 maximum Two Years


ME 1993  § 8241

up to $300,000

Two Years



MD 1999 § 10-501

Actual damages




MA 2004 § 258D $500,000 maximum Two Years

Guilty pleas ineligible




 § 11-44

 $50,000 per year, $500,000 maximum

 Three Years

MO 2006 § 650 $50 per day One Year DNA exonerations only


MT 2003 § 53-1-214 Educational aid only Ten Years

DNA exonerations only




 § 29-46

 Any damages up to $500,000

 No Limit



NH 1977 § 541-B:14 $20,000 maximum Three Years



NJ 1997 § 52:4C $20,000 per year or twice pre-conviction salary--whichever is greater Two years Exoneree who "contributed" to their arrest or conviction is ineligible.
NY 1984 N.Y. Ct C Act § 8-b Unspecified Two Years Exoneree who "contributed" to their arrest or conviction is ineligible.
NC 2008  § 148-82-84 $50,000 per year, $750,000 maximum; job skills training and education tuition waivers Five Years
OH 2003 § 2503.2; 2743.48; OH HB 338 $40,330 per year, attorney's fees, lost wages Two Years Guilty pleas ineligible
OK 2004 § 154 $175,000 maximum No Limit

Guilty pleas ineligible


TN 2004 § 9-8-108 1 million maximum One Year



TX 2009

§ HB1736 & 103.001

$80,000 per year, death row exoneree $100,000 per year, plus $25,000 per year spent on parole or registered as a sex offender, plus lifetime monthly annuity payments. Three Years Prohibits exoneree from filing civil suit. Person who receives subsequent felony conviction loses eligibility for compensation.
UT 2008 § SB 16 Average annual Utah wage per year, maximum 15 years, plus damages up to $500, 000 One Year
VT 2007 § 5574 $30,000-$60,000 per year; up to 10 yrs health service, attorney fee reimbursment, reintegration services and costs Three Years DNA exonerations only, prohibits exoneree from filing civil suit
VA 2004; 2010 § 8.01-195 90% of average Virginia income per year, up to 20 years plus a tuition award worth $10,000 in the VA community college system Unspecified Prohibits exoneree from filing civil suit, guilty pleas ineligible except capital cases
WV 1987 § 14-2-13a "Sum of money court determines will fairly and reasonably compensate" Two Years Exonereee who caused or brought about conviction ineligible
WI 1988 § 775.05 $5,000 per year, $25,000 maximum Unspecified Exoneree who "contributed" to their arrest or conviction is ineligible.