LOUISIANA (KLFY) – Former convicted felons are raising awareness for wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system and their hope is to change laws and free people serving prison time for crimes they did not commit.

This week, Acadiana hosted the 3rd Annual Stand for Justice Fundraiser to benefit the Innocent Project of New Orleans, an organization that has helped free and exonerate over three dozen people.

Watch the Stand for Justice Fundraiser below:

“Wrongful conviction can happen to anybody, so don’t wait until it happens in your backyard before you get involved,” Robert Jones said.

Jones served 23 years in prison for wrongful convictions, including armed robberies, aggravated kidnapping, rape, and murder.

Another man, Raymond Flanks, served 39 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

“It all started one night, one miserable night,” Flanks recalled as he addressed the crowd.

Jerome Morgan has a similar story.

“I was convicted for a murder I didn’t commit when I was 17 years old. I was sentenced to life without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension. It took me 20 years to find my freedom and also suffer through two years of re-prosecution,” Morgan told News 10.

All three men were freed with the help of the Innocence Project of New Orleans (IPNO) and now all three making it their life’s mission to fight along with IPNO.

“It was living hell inside Angola prison, which is very much like a plantation. Since I’ve been home with the support of IPNO and the few friends and family that stuck by me through that incident, I’ve been able to make a lot of strides. I’m now employed at a high school as the director of school, culture, and environment there,” Morgan added.

Their stories began impacting others, like Frank Neuner, the former chair of the Louisiana Public Defender Board.

“You wonder how can you spend all these years in prison, and you realize there are other people in prison that aren’t out right now,” Neuner said.

The stories of men like Robert, Raymond, and Jerome inspired Neuner to take part in the Innocence Project and work alongside them to make the justice system better. He now works as the board chair for IPNO.

“Lives were ruined because of unjust convictions, and the criminal justice system is not perfect. We think it’s the best there is in the world, but it makes mistakes. IPNO helps correct those mistakes and give people their lives back,” he added.

Since 2001, the Innocence Project of New Orleans has freed or exonerated 41 innocent people who served over 960 years in prison between them in both Louisiana and Mississippi.