TV Thief Resumes His Life After 35 Years

by TChris

The consequences of the “lock ‘em up” mentality that pervaded the United States over the last quarter century are now felt by taxpayers as prisons warehouse an increasingly geriatric population. But the consequences of that failed philosophy are most acutely felt by the individuals who endure large parts of their lives behind bars, paying a ridiculous price for their mistakes. Junior Allen, who served 35 years in the Alabama prison system for stealing a $140 television set, is an example of a man who continues to be punished after he paid (or overpaid) his debt to society.

Despite extensive prison records in North Carolina, where he has spent more than half his life as inmate No. 0004604, Allen has been unable to establish his identity in rural Georgia, where he now lives with his sister, or in Alabama, where he was born 65 years ago to sharecropper parents. The monthlong effort to get a birth certificate and photo ID only hints at the new challenge he faces - that of transforming himself from less-than-model inmate to average senior citizen.

Allen was denied parole 25 times. Now, having finally been released, he’d just like to go fishing and find a job--if he could only get ID.

"I've got a lot of catching up to do because I'm way behind," says Allen, who hopes to find work as a forklift operator as soon as he can obtain the photo ID required to apply.

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  • Re: TV Thief Resumes His Life After 35 Years (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:49 PM EST
    Gee, what a surprise that this took place in Alabama.

    Re: TV Thief Resumes His Life After 35 Years (none / 0) (#2)
    by terry on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:49 PM EST
    Looks like a factual error here folks. The only connection this guy has to Alabama is that he was born here. True, Alabama prisons are brutal, barbaric hellholes but we are considering bringing in a team of human rights consultants from Uganda to advise us on how to improve the situation.