Ali Velshi reported on this outrage on Thanksgiving evening:
VELSHI: Unlike guilty prisoners, a parole officer will not help Strickland find counseling, housing, or work, and unlike exonorees in other states, he will not be eligible for social services, such as participating in the state’s health care program. And maybe most importantly, Missouri almost never compensates wrongfully imprisoned people for time served.
On the federal level, they are given $50,000 for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned. Missouri’s neighbor, Kansas, just passed a law in 2018, making the wrongfully convicted eligible for $65,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration. If Mr. Strickland had been imprisoned mere miles away on the Kansas side, he would be eligible for $2.7 million. But he’s 62 years old, locked up since he was 18 years old. So what is he supposed to do?
The good news is that the Midwest Innocence Project, which worked to free him, has set up a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $1.4 million dollars for Strickland. More than half of that was raised after this segment aired Thursday night, when Velshi lauded a total of $450,000.
But it’s beyond disgusting that Strickland should have to rely on a GoFundMePage to start a new life. As I wrote in August, it has been known since 1979 that Strickland did not commit the 1978 murder he was convicted of. Yet it took more than four decades to set him free.
As Velshi noted, The Kansas City Star Editorial Board blasted Missouri Governor Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt for their roles in carrying out the injustice. Parson refused to commute Strickland’s sentence or pardon him and Schmitt employed “every possible delaying tactic” to deny Strickland his exoneration long after his innocence was known. Neither has had the decency to publicly apologize to Strickland.
“Missouri needs to write him a check,” Velshi said, quoting the KC Star editorial. Absolutely, and if the state won’t do it, let’s hope a lawsuit will make them.