In January 1996, Timothy Jackson was caught stealing a jacket from a department store in New Orleans. A few months later, he was convicted of shoplifting and sent to prison. He is still incarcerated for stealing the $159 jacket.
“I know that for my crime I had to do some time, but a life sentence for a jacket value at $159…I have met people here whose crimes are a lot badder with way less time,” Jackson, now 53, told the ACLU.
Jackson’s sister, Loretta Lumar, told the Guardian that her brother’s life sentence is still difficult to digest.
“This doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. “I know people who have killed people, and they get a lesser sentence. That doesn’t make sense to me right there. You can take a life and get 15 or 16 years. He takes a jacket worth $159 and will stay in jail forever. He didn’t kill the jacket!”
- This Man Was Sentenced to Die in Prison for Shoplifting a $159 Jacket: This Happens More Than You Think (alternet.org)
- 3.3K US Prisoners Serving Life for Non-Violent Crimes (newser.com)
- New ACLU report spotlights thousands of nonviolent prisoners serving LWOP terms (sentencing.typepad.com)