A Colorado man was released from prison earlier this year after spending more than 15 years behind bars for a rape and murder that he didn't commit. The man was released from prison abruptly, with no ID card, no money and no vocational training or career prospects. Now he lives off a meager $698 a month from Social Security.

Currently, Colorado is one of 24 states that offer no compensation to victims of wrongful conviction. So people who are later proven innocent are left to fend for themselves after criminal charges and a stint in prison have taken them out of the job market. This means they are often left without the skills or resources they need to get back on their feet.

Cases like this have united those with an interest in criminal justice, motivating them to seek alternatives for convicts who are released after being exonerated by DNA evidence. Some Colorado legislators are working on legislation to propose when the state legislature gets back together in January.

But they are struggling with how that legislation should work and who should be covered. Defense advocates argue that wrongfully convicted individuals should get financial and networking support if they have been pardoned, exonerated by new evidence, or if they were the victims of prosecutors' misconduct.

However, some prosecutors want a more conservative approach. For example, a representative of the Colorado District Attorneys council advocates legislation that bars beneficiaries from suing and requires evidence of innocence. Currently, people who are wrongfully convicted may bring a civil claim for damages if prosecutorial misconduct played a role in the conviction.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you ensure that your rights are protected in the criminal justice system while building a strong defense and working toward the best possible result in your case.

Source: The Denver Post, "Colorado alliance divided on how wrongfully convicted may be compensated," Jessica Fender, Nov. 6, 2012