In 1994, Joseph Frey was wrongly convicted of the 1991 rape of a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student, in a case which had multiple issues. Evidence in the case had been destroyed by an Oshkosh police detective. Authorities had solicited false testimony from a jailhouse informant. The victim, unsure of the identity of her rapist, was prompted by police to implicate Frey.
His conviction was overturned after new DNA evidence linked another man to the crime. On July 12th, he was released from prison after serving two decades of the 102-year sentence imposed for that conviction.
Unlike someone released on a mandatory release date at the end of a served sentence, Frey has not been provided with any social services by the state. He has no health coverage and no income. He was released with less than a week’s supply of the medications needed for his many health problems, including a degenerative bone disease and blood clots, and no way to obtain further treatment or supplies.
The compensation Frey may receive for his wrongful conviction is scant. The maximum payment of $5,000 a year for 5 years would place him at less than half of the federal poverty level. If he received that maximum, it would amount to $250 in compensation for each year between his wrongful conviction and his release.
Had Frey been guilty of a crime, and released after serving a 19 year sentence, he would have been provided with transitional housing and assistance in obtaining employment. Instead, he is living in a homeless shelter, with no means to support himself or obtain needed medical treatment. He wasn’t provided with clothing upon his release.