For all but two years of his adult life, Elmer Daniels has been incarcerated. In 1980, at the age of 18, he was convicted of raping a teenage girl and sentenced to life in a Delaware prison. By the time he was exonerated in 2018, the world he had known had grown unfamiliar.
Since being freed, Daniels’s life has been difficult. He has received no compensation from Delaware nor an apology for the 39 years he spent in prison, and has struggled to support himself on the limited skill set he obtained while incarcerated.
“I think it’s important to understand that when you released me, you basically released me to nothing,” Daniels told The Appeal. “The reality of this is I’ve done nothing wrong but I’m still paying for something that never happened.”
Soon, Daniels could receive some relief. This legislative session, which began on Jan. 14, Delaware lawmakers will push a bill that would compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted. Legislators are proposing to pay $50,000 for every year spent behind bars. If passed, Daniels would receive $1.95 million. read more