HUTCHINSON, Kan. —70505. Floyd Bledsoe learned to respond to this series of numbers like his first name for 15 years. Inmate 70505. The series of numbers still comes to him in his sleep. Bledsoe, 45, was imprisoned for 15 years, exactly 5,302 days of his life. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for the murder and rape of a 14-year-old girl. Bledsoe was released just over six years ago, on his birthday, when the real murderer confessed to his actions and DNA and other evidence proved his innocence.
No one knows how many innocent people sit in U.S. prisons. Estimates range from a few percent to seven. With about two million Americans currently in prison, that would mean 40,000 to 140,000 of them are innocent. Floyd has also set up his own company that recycles mattresses. He employs formerly incarcerated people who find it difficult to find other work. Instead of the past, Floyd tries to look ahead. With the help of children, it is somehow possible. “As a young man, I still had high hopes in my life that I could somehow change the world,” he says. “Now it has become clear to me that my best chance to change the world is through my children. That is why I try to be the best possible father. Every single day."