Wrongfully Imprisoned Man and His Prison Pup Enjoy Their Freedom

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
It’s a story you almost wouldn’t believe…and yet, it’s true. A man who was wrongly imprisoned for almost four decades has been released, and he’s bringing his dog Innocent with him.

It seems like a story for a television movie, but it’s Malcolm Alexander’s real life. Thirty-eight years ago, Alexander was wrongly imprisoned. He claimed innocence then, and has for nearly four decades. Now, thanks to The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that seeks to help exonerate people who are wrongly convicted of crimes, Alexander has been set free, and he’s taking a very special friend out of prison with him.

Related: Puppies Behind Bars: How Raising Service Dogs Changes Inmates

You see, while in prison, Alexander, who is now 58-years-old, fell in love with and trained a puppy born on April 22, 2016. There is a growing number of programs that allow inmates to raise and train dogs for various purposes, but in some prison systems, inmates are also allowed to keep pets. The Louisiana State Penitentiary, a maximum security prison farm, is one such place.

There's an Amazon.com wish list for Malcolm Alexander, who wrongly spent 38 years in prison, and his puppy Inn for those…

Posted by Innocence Project on Friday, February 2, 2018

Innocent, or Inn, was the runt of a litter of ten puppies belonging to a friend of Alexander’s, also an inmate. Alexander named her Innocent because he said she was innocent, just as he was. Being the runt, he thought she was going to need the most love, and he kept telling Inn that he knew they’d one day be able to taste freedom together, and to be patient.

Innocent lived where Alexander worked within the system–the metal and wood shops. He took care of her, fed her and trained her. He says that he knew the privilege it was to have the love of Innocent, and he was grateful for her.

The Innocence Project took his case on in 1996, and after he was completely absolved of the crime thanks to DNA evidence proving his innocence, on January 30, he was released from prison. He said he used to be angry, when he was younger, but now, he just wants to be surrounded by his family and love, and to enjoy the life he has left.

Alexander’s son is now a father himself, and Alexander and Inn are staying with his son and his son’s family while they work through the changes of the last 38-years. It’s a very different life from the life that Alexander lived when he was imprisoned, and he is working to get acclimated back to life.

Related: Inmates Help ‘Unadoptable’ Dogs Learn To Love Again

Which includes raising and loving Innocent outside prison walls. While he was in prison, he learned carpentry, woodworking and jewelry-making skills, and there is a crowdfunding campaign as well as an Amazon Wishlist to help him get started with a new life and a booth in the Art Market in New Orleans. He wants to be able to take care of himself and Innocent…the dog who has loved him unconditionally. The state may be obligated to give compensation for the wrongful imprisonment, but it’s hard to compensate nearly four decades of loss, and it could take years time to get anything to go through the system.

In the meantime, Alexander is just thankful for his innocence, and his sweet Innocent. He says she’s gorgeous and she loves her freedom. We are thankful Alexander can too.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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