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Ensuring Wrongful Conviction Review Equity in Access and Outcomes for Indigenous Clients

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $600,000)

This project is titled “Ensuring Wrongful Conviction Review Equity in Access and Outcomes for Indigenous Clients.” With a federal request of $600,000 and non-federal funding of $846,000 over two years, the project will increase by 30% the number of Indigenous applications that move beyond the Montana Innocence Project's (MTIP's) investigative stage to its pre-litigation stage.

The work of this project is intended to serve its goal of increasing MTIP's presence as a wrongful conviction entity in Montana's rural and Indigenous communities, thereby reducing the number of wrongful convictions occurring there. The work of this project will be carried out by a staff attorney with existing Indigenous relationships, a paralegal, and seven contract investigators who hail from each of the seven Montana tribes, thus ensuring cultural comprehensiveness throughout the state. An added innovation to this project is the leveraging of MSW interns from the University of Montana, who will provide support to incarcerated individuals with cases at the litigation stage to develop re-entry case plans.

The intended beneficiaries of this project are members of the Blackfeet Nation; Crow Nation; Confederated Salish, Pend d'Orielle & Kootenai Tribes, Gros Ventre & Assiniboine Tribes, Sioux Nation, Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and Chippewa Cree Tribe.

Date Created: September 28, 2023