Creators' Statement

We conceived of the idea for Barred From Life during a parking lot conversation two years ago. We realized the critical need to broaden awareness of the human consequences of wrongful conviction, and the power of the arts to make real the lives of the people who are victims of this tragedy. While many of us take for granted the privilege of living our lives according to the freedoms we assume are afforded to all Americans - these people have lived a different reality. Barred From Life aspires to move us to be more vigilant in our effort to realize "liberty and justice for all".

The work grew out of multiple interviews between David J. Popalisky and exonerees who generously shared their remarkable stories. Barred From Life is a composite that reflects significant moments these people experienced over many years. We are particularly grateful to the exonerees and their family members for their critical contribution to the creation of Barred From Life.

- David J. Popalisky and Cookie Ridolfi





Northern California
Innocence Project

"We couldn't afford a lawyer, and when my family did get the money for a lawyer I realized it didn't matter - because I was being railroaded - they're not trying to represent me in a professional way - like I said, a rape kit was done - and they never used it - and I said why did they ever do that if they weren't gonna use it?"