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.
More info: Twitter
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.”