Birmingham Man Sentenced To Life For Stealing $9
It seems like these kinds of headlines are all too common. Unfair sentences handed to people of color for non violent crimes. Beth Shelburne, a reporter in Birmingham, Alabama, recently shed light on Willie Simmons who has been behind bars the last 38 years of his life for stealing $9. She started a thread on Twitter explaining her findings stating "Today I talked to Willie Simmons, who has spent the last 38 years in prison for stealing $9. He was convicted of 1st degree robbery & sentenced to life without parole in 1982, prosecuted under Alabama's habitual offender law because he had 3 prior convictions."
I would say that I'm surprised at this case but it's very common to hear, and very sad to see! According to Shelburne's tweets, "Prosecutors did not offer him a plea deal, even though all of his prior offenses were nonviolent." When asked about his trail, Simmons recalled "They kept saying we'll do our best to keep you off the streets for good."
I can't imagine one of my family memebers going through this, or even going through this myself. Yes we all make mistakes, but for mistakes like this, life in prison shouldn't be the solution or punishment. Beth Shelburne made a plea to the public via Twitter saying "We need help & support from around the country for real
#cjreform in the deep south."
Take the time to research the Alabamians For Fair Justice organization and do your part to help get fair sentencing laws for everyone!