Do innocent people get convicted of crimes they didn't commit? The answer is yes. If you work in a prison type environment you will see that all convicted felons claim their innocence. This is why we only have the court system to rely on for their good judgement and fair decisions. No system on this planet is fool-proof. People make mistakes when they are on a jury panel. Judges sentence unfairly or not harsh enough.
Working in prison helps one understand that the system does work better than most Americans believe. Inmates will come up to you and start giving you their sob story. They will tell you that they are in prison for DUI or for writing bad checks.
Upon reading their file, you will find that this guy was convicted of pulling a girl off her bicycle, raping her, and stealing the 10 dollar bill out of her pocket.
The appeal process is an inmates only option in getting a new trial or over turning decisions of previous trials. I have seen stories of inmates convicted falsely and were released. I know of one inmate who was exonerated and ended up coming back in for drug related offenses.
This guy did about ten years for a murder he didn't commit. The state awarded him money in damages and he spent it all on crack cocaine. This inmate told me that if he were ever released that he would never see the inside of a jail cell again. I guess his freedom wasn't important to him.
I feel bad for anyone convicted of a crime they didn't commit. I put myself in their shoes and imagine what it would be like to lose everything due to the systems negligence. I do believe that these cases are rare and that our system is not broken.
The media is on a campaign to smear our judicial system. Most members of the media do not work in prisons. If they did, they would find a vast majority of inmates who were convicted fairly.
Working inside the walls of prison would make the average news reporter wet themselves. Some innocent people do time for crimes they didn't commit, but a hell of a lot of criminals are exactly where they need to be.