mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

He may have gone to jail for stealing a TV, but that's not why he stayed there...

I was looking for the coupons in my parent's copy of the Courier-News when I stumbled on this article about a guy who just got out of jail after serving 35 years for stealing a black and white TV. (It's an AP story, which is why I linked a different newspaper).

I won't deny that there is unfairness in his story. He was given a life sentence for stealing a TV (and possibly beating up the 87-year-old woman who owned it, but he denies it and wasn't convicted for it, just for the theft). Clearly, that is too harsh a punishment for such a crime, and it seems fairly likely given the fact that he was a black man in North Carolina that race played a role in him recieving the sentence.

But it wasn't the reason he stayed in jail for so long. The reason that he stayed in jail for so long was because he fought, gambled, "tampered with locks" (hmm, you mean like try to escape) and otherwise racked up a ton of infractions:

During his 35 years of incarceration, Allen was denied parole 25 times. He had 47 infractions from 1972 to 2002, including gambling, weapons possession, lock tampering, misuse of medicine, profane language and making a verbal threat.

An unfair system may have put Junior in jail, but what kept him in there was at least in part his own actions, his own behavior that gave them a reason to keep denying him parole. Keep in mind he was up for parole 25 times and denied 25 times.

Anyone think that there isn't bias in the media when stories like this make the AP wire and get syndicated coast to coast? It's an interesting and tragic story, but it's tragic in part because Junior was partly responsible for his own situation, and the article barely presents that fact.


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