Bay Path University students hear from woman who was wrongfully convicted for 17 years

Hampden County

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Bay Path University welcomed Kristine Bunch, who served 17 years in prison for a wrongful conviction, to campus Wednesday to speak and reflect on justice in the United States.

Bunch was arrested and charged with setting a fire that killed her three-year-old son. She was imprisoned at age 22 while pregnant with her second child, sentenced for a total of 110 years for murder and arson. Seventeen years into her sentence, she was released. The fire was accidental.

While in prison, she earned two undergraduate degrees in English and Anthropology. She spoke to 22News about what kept her motivated behind bars, and how you move forward from a wrongful conviction.

She said, “I was pregnant with my second child when I was sent to prison, so that was the motivation. Everything was about getting back to him. Moving forward in some ways just isn’t possible because you aren’t the same person you were when you went in. My motivation at this moment is to make sure this doesn’t happen to another person and to change what we can to make our system better.”

Bunch serves as the executive director of Just IS for Just US Inc., an agency that builds community support for exonerated prisoners after they are released.

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