This Man Has Been In Prison For The Past 38 Years Since He Was Sentenced To Life For Stealing $9 In 1982

Back in 1977, the Alabama Legislature passed the Habitual Felony Offender Act to crack down on repeat criminals. According to the Department of Corrections, at that time, the prison population was 3,455. After a decade, this number skyrocketed to 13,541. And fast-forward to 2014 – the number of prisoners has increased by 840 percent, to 32,467.

Investigative journalist Beth Shelburne recently shared the story of a man currently imprisoned in one of Alabama’s most notorious prisons. She talked to Willie Simmons – a man who got a life sentence without parole – to shed light on the injustice created by the “habitual offender” laws.

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Image credits: bshelburne

“Today I talked to Willie Simmons, who has spent the last 38 years in prison for stealing $9,” Beth began her Twitter thread. Willie Simmons is a man from the small town of Enterprise, Alabama. He got into hard drugs when he was just a teenager. When he was 25, “the state said he should die in prison.”

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Willie was convicted of first-degree robbery and was sentenced to life without parole in 1982. He was prosecuted under Alabama’s Habitual Offender law as he had three prior convictions. According to the journalist, these convictions were grand larceny and receiving stolen property. However, she says that she was only able to locate the grand larceny conviction from 1979, for which Willie served a year. Willie himself was uncertain and couldn’t really remember how much time he had served for the offenses.

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Image credits: bshelburne

Willie is serving his sentence in Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Alabama. He says that he hasn’t had a single visitor since 2005 after his sister passed away, but he is trying to look at life in a positive light. According to Beth – the journalist – he is currently studying for his GED and is trying to “stay away from the wild bunch.” The man didn’t try to deny his crimes, and he takes full responsibility for them.

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Image credits: bshelburne

Beth ends the now-viral thread by saying: “When tough-on-crime people say everyone in prison deserves to be there, think of Mr. Simmons. We should be ashamed of laws that categorically throw people away in the name of safety. We should question anyone who supports Alabama’s Habitual Offender law. It needs to go.” What do you think of Alabama’s Habitual Offender law? Do you agree with the author — that it should go?

Source: boredpanda.com

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