The traumatic effects of a wrongful conviction on former prisoners is to be studied for the first time by a team of academics who will conduct a series of interviews in Scotland.

The project will see leading criminologists from the University of Oxford come to Glasgow and interview victims of miscarriage of justice who are now free.

The new study – backed by Scottish charity the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation - will focus on life after release.

The findings will be written up as a thesis and form part of lead researcher Laura Tilt’s Doctorate in Criminology.

She said: “This will be one of the first studies of its kind in the United Kingdom. Research on wrongful conviction to date has focused on how they occur and are overturned - there is so far very little empirical research on the post-exoneration experience outside the United States.

“In the UK, legislation has now significantly restricted the possibility of obtaining compensation. In this very dismal climate, the lived experiences of the wrongfully convicted can inform what post-release support is available - or should be available - to repair the harms caused by wrongful conviction. Simply quashing a conviction is not enough.”

The Miscarriages of Justice Organisation has long campaigned for greater support for former prisoners who were wrongly convicted.

Co-Project Manager, Paul Mclaughlin, said: “This study is welcomed because it will look into the post-exoneration experience of persons who have been wrongfully convicted, to explore how such persons cope with their experience and what support they receive to help them to manage the practical and emotional impact of exoneration.

“We feel the study is vitally important to everyone fighting for justice for the innocent. The study will allow us to produce the evidence required to show the true impact of wrongful conviction, and will be a tool, which will aid all those fighting for the rights of the innocent and wrongfully convicted.”

Former teacher James Boyle was sentenced to twelve years in prison in 2005 for historical sex offences against three children.

The 60-year-old from Rutherglen served five years before he was cleared when a second trial ended with a not proven verdict – but he has been unable to return to work. He welcomed the study and will be one of the interviewees.

Boyle said: “I think in terms of when someone is released from prison, the legal representation must be made available on the same basis as it was made available to the complainers so that people in my position are able to defend themselves and challenge institutions.

“That is fundamental because, unless you’re an extremely wealthy person, without that access you are immediately hobbled. So, I think we need legal services to be provided to us for as long as we need them.

“We need redress, restorative justice, public enquiries and whatever assistance it takes to deal with the impacts in terms of the psychological and health damage.

“I had to deal with allegations that I was a paedophile when I’m not. That is clearly a damaging thing to have to deal with.

“The other side of the coin is it always has a very bad physical impact. For example, doctors have told me the fact I have chronic stomach and bowel problems is down to the stress and strain.”

Mclaughlin has urged potential interviewees to contact MOJO for more information about the study.

He said: “We are trying to identify anyone who has been exonerated, their friends and family, and professionals who have who have worked with exonorees, who may want to contribute.

“Laura Tilt will be at our office in Glasgow from Monday July 11 until Friday July 22, doing interviews for the project.

“We would like to encourage anyone who may meet the criteria of the study to arrange an appointment.

“If they wish to contribute. Interviews will be held at the MOJO office in Glasgow but arrangements can be made to visit anyone who would like to contribute to the research.”

To find out more about the study, telephone 01415520009 or email