Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Alan Thompson

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice


The American criminal justice system is a series of checks and balances meant to protect the American people. However, on occasion, the system fails, and innocent people are convicted of crimes, leaving the truly guilty perpetrator free to potentially commit other crimes. This study aimed to determine the beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes of university community members regarding the issue of wrongful conviction in Mississippi. This was executed by hosting a public forum including the Director of the Mississippi Innocence Project on the campus of Southern Mississippi. During this forum, participants were provided with the opportunity to complete two surveys in the form of a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design. Once Survey #1 was completed, the participants viewed a documentary entitled “Mississippi Innocence.” Following the screening of the documentary, participants were then asked to complete Survey #2. Results of the analysis indicated that the more information that is made available to the public about the issue of wrongful conviction, the more the public agrees that exonorees are unfairly compensated. The ultimate goal of this project is to raise awareness of unfair compensation statutes in place throughout the United States.