Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Journalist and LAI supporter, Alison Flowers, launches Exoneree Diaries on public radio, WBEZ

Many are fascinated by wrongful convictions. Few know the whole story. Helping to bridge that gap between interest and education is journalist Alison Flowers. Flowers is the creator and host of Exoneree Diaries on WBEZ. The show “follow(s) the stories of three Illinois exonerees through their wrongful convictions, releases and struggles to put their lives back together as free men.”

 “Holding the powerful accountable and giving a voice to the voiceless are two principles that guide my reporting and writing. So when it occurred to me that there was an area of wrongful convictions that was largely overlooked—exonerees—I decided to tackle the issue, find a diversity of voices and create a platform so they could be heard,” said Flowers when asked about her motivation behind creating Exoneree Diaries.

The first chapter of Exoneree Diaries debuted on September 16, 2013, and introduced James Kluppelberg, Jacques Rivera, and Antoine Day, three exonerees and Life After Innocence clients who have served a combined 55 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Over the next year, a new chapter of the project will be released each week. Each chapter follows a different stage in the three exonerees’ wrongful convictions. For example, the second chapter details the convictions of the three men.

Flowers has perhaps learned just as much from her subject matter as she hopes her audience will. Says Flowers, “I was shocked to learn how absolutely no resources are afforded to those who have been released from prison after being wrongfully convicted. Before researching this subject, I also didn't know that the burden of proof for establishing innocence, compensation and expungement fell on the exoneree in the state of Illinois.”

Exoneree Diaries is designed to give these men an opportunity to give a live account of their stories and in their own words. Flowers hopes Exoneree Diaries will “become a significant, serious and spectacular body of work that creates dialogue about public policy and inspires change among government agencies.” Jokes Flowers, “A book deal wouldn’t hurt either.”

To listen to the exoneree diaries, click here.