TWF conducts in depth assessments of wrongful conviction and excessive sentencing claims and uses its extensive legal and media networks to overturn inaccurate verdicts. After an application and acceptance process, TWF works with selected individuals and their families to provide them the tools they need to challenge their convictions. The investigations conducted by TWF are case-dependent but often include transcript review, witness interviews and public records requests.
We represent incarcerated individuals who encounter unconstitutional conditions within the prison system, ranging from denial of religious liberties to excessive force by officers. We have a proven track record of obtaining a full range of remedies for our clients, including compensation, injunctive relief to undo the effects of civil rights violations on individuals and groups, and punitive damages to change the future behavior of defendants.
TWF Director Lauren Faraino represents indigent defendants in post-conviction relief efforts. Her most recent client is an 84-year-old man who has served 30 years for an accidental manslaughter. TWF applied a restorative justice framework to the process of seeking a resentencing for this individual, involving conversations with the victim which ultimately led to her support of our client’s release.
Alabama currently has 165 people on Death Row. 146 would not be on Death Row in any other state for two reasons: (1) Alabama is the only state which allows people to be sentenced to death by a non-unanimous jury; and (2) Alabama is the only state with people on Death Row because a judge overrode a jury verdict of life without parole. The Woods Foundation is working with a coalition of state, national, and international organizations to outlaw death sentences by non-unanimous juries – impacting 113 individuals – and make the 2017 ban on judicial override retroactive for the 31 people now on Death Row by this unjust practice.
In addition to advancing legal strategies for our clients, The Woods Foundation engages in storytelling through documentaries and podcasts to attempt to bring light to the great waste that is the American prison system. Our first film about our innocent client, Nathaniel Woods, is available on Hulu and was nominated for an Emmy in 2022 — New York Times Presents: To Live and Die in Alabama. We have launched a podcast on Spotify called radicAL, in collaboration with an incarcerated activist, to educate the public about what is going on inside Alabama‘s prisons.