Dion Harrell spent two decades on New Jersey’s sex offender registry.
He had trouble finding a job. He couldn’t be alone with his kids. For a time, he was homeless.
But when a DNA test finally proved his innocence, the state had nothing to offer him for those years.
“I was surprised I wouldn’t get compensation,” Harrell said at a hearing in Trenton Thursday.
If you can prove that you were wrongfully imprisoned in New Jersey, you can receive up to $50,000 for every year spent behind bars. But you’re out of luck if you were forced into treatment or supervision for a sex crime you didn’t commit, or if you falsely pled guilty to any crime.
State lawmakers could change that. A bipartisan bill (A1037) would allow people to receive $25,000 for every year spent under the state’s supervision, which includes sex offender lists and parole.