Lawyers say preparing a parole appli­ca­tion based on a claim of inno­cence is risky, because parole boards want to see inmates say they are sorry. A defen­dant who lacks remorse is con­sid­ered more likely to commit other crimes. Indeed, a guilty person who pre­tends to be remorseful is more likely to be released than a person who says he did not do it, said Daniel S. Medwed, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity pro­fessor who has studied the issue.

It is grounded in the 19th-​​century quasi-​​religious belief that you have to come to Jesus and admit your sins to be saved,” Pro­fessor Medwed said. “There­fore, a pris­oner who claims inno­cence has no real reason for doing it. It’s going to hurt you more than help you.”

The parole board has, in iso­lated instances, granted parole to inmates who claimed inno­cence, sug­gesting a growing acknowl­edg­ment of the pos­si­bility of wrongful con­vic­tions, Pro­fessor Medwed said.

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