*Tavis Smiley will sit down with four wrongfully-convicted men who, despite their innocence, spent more than a combined 50 years in prison.

The conversation airs on the award-winning PBS program Tavis Smiley, exclusively on Chicago’s WYCC-TV this Wednesday, June 29 and nationwide on public television Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, 2011.

Recorded during Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s 40th anniversary conference, Smiley is also joined by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson.  Jackson and others have been working to address social injustices around the country.

A recent study by the Better Government Association, finds that 85 people wrongfully convicted in Illinois spent a total of 926 years in prison.  These 85 wrongful convictions cost Illinois’ taxpayers 214 million dollars.

Smiley talks with four men who are a part of those statistics:

Johnnie Savory, convicted at the age of 14 for a double murder. After spending 30 years in prison and now on parole, he is still not fully exonerated by the state.

Marcus Lyons, a military veteran with no previous record, he was found guilty of rape he did not commit and served three years of a six year sentence.

Gordon Steidl, spent 12 years on death row for murders he did not commit before winning a motion for a new trial in 2003.

Ken Berry, convicted and sentenced to 35 years for kidnapping and sexual assault.  He won a new trial because his lawyer failed to call witnesses who could have exonerated him.

To learn more about the four men and the Illinois’ Innocence Project, visit www.pbs.org/tavis.

Leshelle V. Sargent
Unit Publicist
[email protected]