Framing DNA: Social Movement Theory And The Foundations Of The Innocence Movement

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Robert Norris, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: The “innocence movement” has often been mentioned, but rarely explored in depth. In particular, scholars have yet to study the beginning of the movement thoroughly. This article explores the early history of the innocence movement, referred to as the “foundations” of the movement, suggesting that the common focus solely on DNA as the source of the movement is an overly narrow historical focus. Based on archival research and interviews with key movement participants, this article draws on social movement theory to better understand the roots of the innocence movement, including its organizational foundation, early leadership, and the identification of the “problem” of wrongful conviction as a cause worthy of collective action. These three developments re-framed DNA as a tool to seek justice through post-conviction exonerations, thus creating the foundation on which the innocence movement was built.

Additional Information

Norris, Robert (2017) "Framing DNA: Social Movement Theory And The Foundations Of The Innocence Movement" Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Vol. 33(1) 26 –42 [DOI: 10.1177/1043986216673014] Version Of Record Available At
Language: English
Date: 2017
wrongful conviction, innocence movement, Innocence Project, social movement, theory

Email this document to