6 Documentaries about Wrongful Convictions that Will Shock & Terrify You

Over the past few years, documentaries have had the power to completely change the course of our lives, and documentaries about wrongful convictions lead the pack. They’ve actually influenced the outcome for people stuck in prison…for things they didn’t do.

That’s a terrifying thought for anyone…because, really, it could happen to any of us.

What is most disturbing is that things you thought were ironclad proof of guilt – like a confession, DNA evidence, or video footage – can be completely falsified or misleading.  And of course, then there’s the power of law enforcement…another thing we all take for granted.

Bottom line – documentaries about wrongful convictions are some of the best out there!  They’re not only terrifying, captivating, and shocking…but they actually have the power to enact change.  And that’s something everyone loves to see from a documentary!

So time to update your Netflix queue again!  You’re going to want to see all of these.  

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These wrongful conviction documentaries are truly unbelievable - video footage, confessions, and even DNA can all be staged and used against us.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A is one of the newest documentaries about wrongful convictions on Netflix and it is eye-opening, to say the least.

Each episode focuses on a different piece of evidence that is typically considered to be “enough” to convict someone – DNA evidence, video footage, blood spatter, and cadaver dogs.

Only, in these cases, that evidence may have been wrong.

This is another great Netflix documentary that will completely change how you feel about the justice system…and you’ll certainly be a little more nervous if something goes wrong. 

Kalief Browder Story

The Kalief Browder Story is one of the most devastating wrongful conviction documentaries, telling the tragic story of Kalief Browder.

Kalief technically wasn’t even convicted, yet he was still held in jail (as a minor!) for a grueling 3 years, where he was abused, tortured, and seriously mistreated by the justice system…all right in New York City.  

There were so many glaring problems with Kalief’s case, the wrongful accusation being the first.  But his case shows just how devastating a situation becomes once you enter the prison system, which is the unfortunate fate of every wrongfully convicted person. 

This is truly one of the best Netflix wrongful conviction documentaries out there and certainly one that shines a light on the plight of those who are accused (and convicted) of something they didn’t do.  

Add this one to your queue. You’ll never forget it.   

The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five tells the story of one of the most well-known wrongful convictions of our era – a case involving 5 teens and a gruesome rape in New York’s Central Park.

Just as with The Kalief Browder Story, The Central Park Five doesn’t just bring to light a devastating wrongful conviction.  It also shows how devastating the aftermath of that conviction is…enough to completely ruin someone’s life forever. 

Not only is this an amazing documentary about a wrongful conviction, but it was recently followed up with an amazing true story movie that tells the same story – When They See Us

BOTH should be added to your Netflix queue!

The Confession Tapes

The Confession Tapes is a full series of Netflix documentaries about wrongful convictions…all from actual confessions that were coerced from the police.

It’s easy to think that a confession is the clearest sign of guilt, but this series shows just how unreliable an actual confession may be…not to mention how easy it can be to manipulate someone into implicating themselves – or admitting full guilt – when they actually didn’t do anything. 

This documentary series is disturbing and will definitely make you think differently about things.

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is the ultimate wrongful conviction documentary on Netflix that really put true crime documentaries on the map. 

It’s actually an entire series that tells the story of Steven Avery, a man who spent two decades behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, only to then be accused of yet another crime…that he also may not have commited. 

Either way, this shocking documentary series will keep you glued to the screen.

It’s a great one to watch and definitely one of the best Netflix documentaries about wrongful convictions…so add it to your queue! 

The Staircase 

The Staircase was a captivating true crime docuseries before docuseries’ were even a thing…and then Netflix scooped it up and did what it does best: turned it into one of the best wrongful conviction documentaries out there by adding new updated episodes that revived the case.

The story follows novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wife – a death he said was caused from a fall down the staircase.

There are a number of twists and turns in this case that will shock you and keep you glued to the screen, but what is really amazing is the unprecedented footage during the first trial. 

This is definitely a documentary you’ll want to see, no matter what genre you’re looking for!

I hope you get a chance to watch all of these wrongful conviction documentaries!  They’re all documentaries that you’ll never forget. 

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These documentaries about wrongful convictions will totally shock you!  DNA evidence, coerced convictions, and even video evidence can be used against any of us.