After more than 30 years in prison, 60-year-old Curtis Crosland has finally been released and exonerated for a 1984 murder he didn’t commit. Although he’s happily rejoined his family, so much damage has already been done.
After reviewing Crosland’s case, Philadelphia’s Conviction Integrity unit found that not only was evidence that could have exonerated him on file the whole time, but witnesses said that police coerced them into lying!
But Crosland wasn’t the only one who lost his life in prison.
During his incarceration, he had five children, a fiancee, and 32 grandchildren back home. His son, Risheen, spoke about growing up in poverty with a dad who would “always belong to the state of Pennsylvania.” He spent 34 years of HIS life wishing his father would be freed so he could make memories with him.
And as for Crosland himself?
"It's a great feeling to still be dad … [with] … open arms to receive you,” Crosland said after his release. “That's been the greatest part of being exonerated, that I come home to a loving family that wants and needs me.”
One of prison's many impacts is destabilizing and impoverishing Black families. But it's inspiring to see how Crosland and his family fought to keep each other together. Our families don't belong to the state – we belong to each other!