T Nation

Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Law in TX


"Exonerees will get $80,000 for each year they spent behind bars. The compensation also includes lifetime annuity payments that for most of the wrongly convicted are worth between $40,000 and $50,000 a year - making it by far the nation's most generous package.

I wasn't even aware of this. Rick Perry signed this bill into law back in May. The actual name of the bill is the Tim Cole Act. The bill is named for Timothy Cole, who died in prison in 1999. Cole was serving a 25-year sentence after being wrongfully convicted for the rape of a Texas Tech student in 1985.

The guilty man, Jerry Wayne Johnson, went to prison on another charge and had tried to confess to the crime as early as 1995, but under state law he could no longer be charged with the crime. Subsequently, DNA testing ordered by the Lubbock County District Attorney's office proved that Tim Cole could not have been the perpetrator. Tim Cole died in prison before the system could free him. Thoughts?


I'm ok with it.


I'd get wrongly convicted there for that much if they didn't execute everyone.


It's always "interesting" in how we lead the nation in executions...AND exonerations.


I'm not sure 80k a year is enough.



I'm sure that's just coincidence.

"If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell."

  • General Phil Sheridan


A couple of Army fellas I train with say the same about Jersey...haha. :wink:


I could not imagine being locked up for something I didn't do. 80k would not be enough LOL.


I'm ok with it. And the amount is plenty.


I would say that's nowhere near enough money.

Of course, I was watching Oz the other day, which may have influenced me.


With your(and my) experiences with the prison system...it gives more insight and credence to that statement.


If you haven't read it, you should check out John Grisham's "Innocent Man". It is about several people who were wrongfully sent to death row in the same county in OK over a single decade. That is some scary shit. The ones that did get exonerated could never recover any semblance of a life, even with big lawsuit settlements. I am definitely a conservative, law-and-order type of guy, but I would rather see 100 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man put to death.


Let's assume I make $80k a year. That salary is what my time is worth for 8 hours of the day, 5 days a week. I'd be locked up substatially more than that. How much is time with my children worth? What is the premium on missing your son's first steps, or your daughters 16th birthday?

Wrongful imprisonment does much much more than deprive the ability to earn a salary.


Seriously Boss, alot of people will look at this and think, "Oh wow, 80k per year, awesome!" What they fail to realize is that they are dealing with (again for something they were innocent of). I would love to see their reactions when they experience things like their first day in the joint, going out for yard time, shake-downs, lock-downs, phone checks. Going to the chow hall and watching a Hispanic guy getting 4 scoops of mashed potatoes while whites and blacks get 1 scoop. Having some gump make a thong out of his laundry bag and dancing around to "Back that Ass Up." Jesus Christ you want to talk about cruel and unusual punishment LOL.


That is why I have a problem with the death penalty. I'm not opposed to a life for a life. But I have seen how people can be very unfairly treated in the system. Especially when they are up against a prosecutor who is out to make a name for themself so they can have a poltical career.

Just a few years ago Texas did execute a man who it later turned out that he may very well have been innocent like he said he was.


It's not just a coincidence. Texas is notoriously bad.


Sloth, would you be willing to get ass raped just one time sometime in the next year for 80k? Genuine question, I'm not trying to be a dick.



Here's the problem, not even $100 million dollars would be worth it. You can't put a dollar amount on it. But, what if I was to say that every person in this situation should be paid that amount, 100 mil? Would anyone here disagree? Would I then be the more compassionate person, because I'm willing to spend that much tax money, while others might feel 200k, even 125k, is fair enough?

Edit: It's a 80k for every year locked up, and about 40-50k every year for the rest of their lives. That's a comfortable living without needing to work again.

Re-edit: Why not just ask them how much we have to pay them to satisfy them? "700 million? Ok, here ya go!" That's the only way to say the served time was "worth it." Unless folks here are ready to do that, none of us are willing to pay enough.


The other issue here: Is this just a tactic to avoid massive lawsuit payouts if and when someone is exonerated?


10-15 million is a decent number these men get locked up in their late teens early twenties and are freed in their mid to late forties , they lose their youth, their chance to raise families. This amount allows them to live comfortably with whats left of their lives. this is an arbitrary number, no amount can really make up for what was stripped from them. The damage that was done to their minds and souls.