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A project at the University of Illinois Springfield that is dedicated to investigating wrongful convictions has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

University officials say the $249,999 in federal funds will allow legal staff and students at the Illinois Innocence Project to continue bring closure to existing cases and expand the project's effort to look at other wrongful convictions.

The Illinois Innocence Project was founded in 2001. Over the past 13 years, it has assisted in the release of six people who were where wrongfully convicted. The project provides services at no cost, and works with inmates' private attorneys.

This is the second grant awarded to the Illinois Innocence Project by the Department of Justice. The Project previously received a grant of the same amount in 2011.

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