The Better Government Association and the Northwestern law school’s Center on Wrongful Convictions have converted the moral and human cost of imprisoning the innocent in Illinois into dollars and cents.

“Wrongful convictions of men and women for violent crimes in Illinois have cost taxpayers $214 million,” report BGA senior investigator John Conroy and the center’s executive director, Rob Warden, who led a seven-month examination of 85 cases dating back to 1989 in which persons convicted of violent crimes were eventually exonerated.

A former Reader staff writer, Conroy wrote about several of these cases for this paper during the years in which he focused on police torture in Chicago.