via National Guard
Sixty-year-old Alvin Kennard has been in prison for most of his life. You might think he probably committed a terrible crime, but no. Alvin stole $50.75 from a bakery in Bessemer, Alabama. This landed him in prison for a tragic 36 years. How did this injustice even happen to start with?
AL.com reported that he had priors related to “a break-in at an unoccupied service station” from when he was 18. After receiving a suspended sentence and 3 years probation, those priors, “which were not Class A felonies, led to his sentence under the Habitual Felony Offender Act in 1984.”
Alvin was resentenced by a judge and given time served, then ordered released. He said “I’m sorry for what I did... I was wrong.” Sure, Alvin made a mistake, but the system that punished him so harshly is even more wrong for ruining people’s lives like this every single day.
Stealing is a crime, but 36 years in prison is harsh and unfair. People who have committed worse crimes walk away free because of their race, income, and other factors. Research has shown Black people get MORE time for the same crimes that white people commit.
Alvin is home now, and we’re happy to know he’s not locked up any longer, but the system shouldn’t have done this to him to begin with! The criminal justice system’s racism shows itself every time a Black person is over-sentenced and families are torn apart. This has to end.