Wrongful conviction research has focused heavily on the ‘sources’ of wrongful conviction: false confession, inaccurate eye-witness testimony, defence incompetence, imperfect forensic science, to name a few. But once a person has had their conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal, are exonerated and released from prison, what happens next?

As part of her doctoral research, Laura Tilt is conducting a study on the issues faced by exonerees after they are released from prison in the United Kingdom, and the services and support mechanisms provided to try to help them to recover and rebuild their lives.

Through qualitative interviews with people who have had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal, she will explore the effects of wrongful conviction and map their journeys following release until the time of interview. Interviewees will be encouraged to reflect on how they have felt at each stage, who has provided support, and the extent to which they feel they are moving towards reintegration into their communities and any experiences of reparation. Interviews with support workers and service providers, including charities, mental and physical health providers, housing, education and employment authorities and defence lawyers, will seek to identify what support is currently provided to exonerees in the United Kingdom, what are gaps in service provision and challenges to effective support systems, and how post-exoneration support might be improved.

Laura is a third year DPhil student at the Centre for Criminology, supervised by Professor Carolyn Hoyle. Her project is partially funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust. This project is covered ethical approval from the Social Sciences and Humanities Inter-Divisional Research Ethics Committee, University of Oxford.

If you have any queries, comments or believe you could contribute as a participant, please contact Laura via email: laura.tilt@crim.ox.ac.uk.