Freedom after Thirty-Four Years in Prison

By Coll Rowe | March 4 2021 | Humanities & Social Sciences

Benjamine Spencer was convicted of murder in 1987—a crime he did not commit. Due to the tireless advocacy of Centurion Ministries over the past twenty years, his conviction has finally been reevaluated, and he is expected to be released after 34 years. His case is one of several that is profiled at length in Jim McCloskey’s memoir, When Truth Is All You Have—the gripping story of how McCloskey founded Centurion in 1983, the first organization in the world dedicated to freeing innocent men and women serving life or death sentences. A recent article in The Dallas Morning News brings the story of Ben Spencer’s imminent release up to date.


Read more reporting on Benjamine Spencer’s case:
‘An Awful Mistake’ Might Soon Be Fixed—Finally
Dallas prosecutors say false testimony led to man’s conviction in 1987 robbery, paving his path to freedom
New Evidence May Free Dallas Man Convicted In Deadly 1987 Robbery

Centurion Ministries, who has advocated for Benjamine Spencer’s release, is a nonprofit devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. The organization’s founder Jim McCloskey has overseen the freeing of 63 innocent prisoners, with the help of his staff and a team of forensic experts, lawyers, and volunteers and their tireless investigation.

Praise for Jim McCloskey’s memoir When Truth Is All You Have

“Jim McCloskey and Centurion are pioneers in the struggle to expose the tragedy of innocent people wrongly convicted and sent to prison in America. . . . No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently than Rev. McCloskey and his extraordinary team at Centurion. There are important stories we have yet to hear about what we’ve done in America and no one is better positioned to tell them than Jim McCloskey.” —Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“Jim McCloskey is one of the foremost voices in the struggle to exonerate the wrongly convicted, and When Truth is All You Have is a poignant, piercing, and ultimately inspiring account of a life of sacrifice. Whether it’s to the people he serves or to a more just criminal justice system, Jim McCloskey’s devotion is a beacon of hope.” —Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking

Read an excerpt of the book

Watch Jim McCloskey discuss When Truth Is All You Have with prisoner rights activist and author Sister Helen Prejean: