For Immediate Release
February 28, 2023
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(Black PR Wire) James Gibson, who was wrongly accused of murder and served 29 years behind bars, is raising funds to create an unprecedented and innovative new digital archive to share the human stories of those wrongfully convicted, advance social justice and advocate for police reform in America.

Gibson has launched the Clara and James Gibson Foundation, with the aim of raising $250,000 to create the first-ever digital archive project, which will share the compelling stories of individuals wrongfully convicted across the country. The Foundation’s goal is to yield transformative and lasting change to the current broken, abusive and discriminatory systems.

In December 1989 at the age of just 23, James was falsely arrested, beaten and tortured by rogue police officers under the command of disgraced Chicago Police commander, Jon Burge. He was sentenced to life in prison for the crime of murder.

With incredible courage and dedication James fought to clear his name and spent his time in prison reading law books, legal abstracts, law review articles, and reaching out to attorneys to assist him with his case.

James studied hard and gained qualifications to help his own case and advocate for others within the criminal justice system and especially those who had been wrongly convicted. He became a ‘jailhouse lawyer’ practicing criminal law, drafting motions and court pleadings and representing other inmates in custody. 

After his release he was committed to helping others and set up the Clara and James Gibson Foundation, in honor of his mother who supported him throughout his incarceration.

Clara would visit him regularly, making a lengthy bus journey to the prison, she was deaf and unable to spend time talking on the phone with her son, so the visits became invaluable. It was her life’s wish to see her sons name cleared but sadly she passed away before James was released.

James commented: “My life has been about a fight for justice, it took me over 29 years to clear my name. Sadly, my case is not in isolation and I am committed to helping those fighting their own wrongful convictions by giving them access to tools and materials that will help their cases in addition to pastoral care for them and their families.

“My mother was my rock and is a constant source of inspiration. I wanted to honor her memory by creating a charitable foundation in her name.” 

Jon Burge, the disgraced commander from the Chicago police Department linked to James’ case, was found guilty of having directly participated in or implicitly approved the torture of at least 118 people in police custody in order to force false confessions. Since 1989, there has been more than 3,000 criminal exonerations in the United States, with those wrongly convicted spending more than a combined total of more than 27,000 years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit.* source Equal Justice Initiative.

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