Woodard was freed when he was eventually cleared
following DNA tests and changes in witness testimony
America's jails are overflowing. For the first time in history, around one per cent of the adult population is in prison.

It is an unfortunate landmark to reach - but what is even more disturbing is how many people have been mistakenly convicted.

Imagine spending half of your life behind bars for a crime you did not commit.

In the case of James Lee Woodard, freedom came on Tuesday, after 27 years in prison, when he was eventually cleared following DNA tests and changes in witness testimony.

He was locked away on New Year's Day in 1981, convicted of the rape and murder of his girlfriend. Woodward ended up spending more time behind bars than any other inmate in the US freed by DNA evidence.

On Thursday's Riz Khan we look at the US justice system and where it is going wrong.

We are joined by Jeffrey Blackburn, an award-winning trial lawyer who is best known for overturning the wrongful convictions of 38 residents of Tulia, Texas.

He currently serves as chief counsel for the Innocence Project in Texas. He was also the chief counsel for Woodward.

In Washington we are joined by Michael Austin, who knows wrongful conviction all too well. Austin served 26 years in prison before being cleared in 2001 for a murder he did not commit.

Watch this episode of Riz Khan on YouTube

Watch this episode of Riz Khan's Street Talk on YouTube

This episode of Riz Khan aired on Thursday, May 01, 2008

You can watch Riz live at 1900GMT, with repeats at 0030GMT, 0500GMT, and 1000GMT.

To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page

Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

Join our debates on the Your Views section of the site