Wrongly convicted man starts non-profit helping other exonerees

"We are making people better, not bitter," said Aaron Salter.

FOX 2 first met Salter when he was exonerated from prison in 2018. Now he helps others in his shoes - and one way he does that, is with a house for exonerees.

Salter showed FOX 2 the house, which is his labor of love located near John R and Woodward on Detroit's east side. Since May, Salter has quickly worked to turn this house into a home for exonerees who have nowhere to go when they first leave prison. 

He says it’s all because of his own experiences. 

"When I came home, the state, no one was there to provide housing or basic necessities I needed," he said.

Salter spent 15 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. He says his vision is to help other exonerees through the difficult transition after getting out.

"My whole fight was making things easier for people and I was consumed towards helping and I never really thought about myself," he said.

Aaron Salter

Salters is using some money from his state compensation to offer a helping hand with a house and a non-profit called Innocence Maintained. The organization helps exonerees like James Clay with life after a wrongful conviction.

"It's meant the world to me," said James Clay, who was exonerated from prison. "It's been a life changing experience because when I got out of prison I didn't have anything, I didn't have a place to stay, no food, no money, no job, no anything."


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While it would be easy for people like Salter and Clay to be angry with what happened, Salter says this message in the kitchen is what it is all about: "We are making people better not bitter."

"We are moving and we are doing a lot of good things," Salter said.

Exonerees James Clay, left, and Aaron Salter