We first learned about Christopher Scott’s story from a fantastic piece on NPR about how a passion for soap operas gave him a source of inspiration and kept him out of trouble while he was in prison. He had been wrongfully accused and convicted for a murder he did not commit and spent 15 years in prison before he was exonerated. Scott now operates a nonprofit organization, House of Renewed Hope, where he and his team of fellow exoneree-investigators work to prove the innocence of others who have been wrongfully convicted.
What life lessons did you learn from your mother/father?
How to work hard for what you want and be the best at what you do.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A football player.
How did watching soap operas in prison inspire you to become a private investigator pursuing social justice?
Sonny (from General Hospital) is always in trouble. I wanted to be as good as the investigator working on his behalf. Sonny is always acquitted.
There’s a big disconnect trying to picture convicts as die-hard soap opera fans. Help us make that connection.
Watching soap operas does not make you weak. It reminds you of family and everyone knows “family over everything.”
Word has it that General Hospital is your favorite soap. What’s it got that the others don’t?
The Corinthos family!
How did you go about learning the ins and outs of being a private investigator?
Hands-on experience from investigators. Jim Hamlin, an investigator who worked on my exoneration case, is an open book that gives me tips.
How do you find your cases?
By reading through hundreds of letters that are sent to my P.O. box.
Is there a recipe for successfully exonerating a wrongly convicted person?
Hell no! Luck. Luck of draw. Good lucks and good breaks with a case of great merit.
What’s one lesson you learned while in prison that serves you well today?
Cherishing the small things. You’d be surprised at the things you take for granted.
The House of Renewed Hope is a nonprofit. How do you raise funds to sustain your efforts?
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My inability to say “no.”
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
President Trump. He promotes hate.
What are you reading right now?
Code of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone.
What are you listening to right now?
Rick James, Fire and Desire.
What are you watching right now?
Rock, paper, or scissors?
Rock—it’s a solid, strong force.
What’s one question you’d like to ask yourself – and answer?
Why is it so easy to re-enter prison? It’s because I know that after the task at hand (as an investigator), I get to walk out.
How can people help advocate on behalf the wrongly convicted?
Open a line of communication with state officials and legislatures.
How can people help those who have been exonerated?
Make certain they have a place to stay with the bare necessities. We (exonerees) do not get a bus ticket and $50 as do those who are released from prison after serving their time. Compensation doesn’t start when you exit prison. And if you’re eligible for compensation, you have to be found actually innocent. (Editor’s note: For many reasons, those who are exonerated do not always have their records expunged.)
How should people connect with you on social media?