Man Served 36 Years In Prison For Stealing $50 From Bakery, Now He's Finally Being Released

It is important for us to trust law enforcement and judicial personnel. By and large, police officers, prosecutors, and judges behave in a way that is fair and in the public good. Occasionally, however, those we trust to uphold the law get things wrong. Such is the case of a man in Alabama who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for stealing $50 from a bakery.

Back in 1979, Alvin Kennard was found guilty of three counts of second-degree burglary, being sentenced to three years of probation according to

Four years later, in 1984, Alvin was convicted of robbery, the second strike on his record. Due to the Habitual Felony Offender Act when the 22-year-old Alvin robbed $50 from a bakery with a knife, the judge had to sentence him to life without the possibility of parole due to the state’s stringent fourth-time offenders act.

Despite having no hope for a future outside the walls of prison, Alvin turned his life around while he was incarcerated in William E. Donaldson Prison. Alvin’s new attorney, Carla Crowder, said that Alvin also has a very strong support system, and showed "exemplary behavior" while in prison according to

When Crowder appealed Alvin’s case before Judge David Carpenter, the court showed mercy to the inmate. Remedying the injustice done over three decades prior, Judge Carpenter sentenced Alvin to time served, thus giving him his freedom back.

Alvin’s family was ecstatic at the news that Alvin would be coming home. Alvin’s niece, Patricia Jones, says that on hearing the news Alvin has been freed, she put her hands in the air and thanked God.

Patricia tells reporters from WBRC that her family is prepared to support their wayward uncle, adding that Alvin hopes to get a job. 

Alvin himself says that he is overwhelmed at having a second chance at life outside of prison. At the hearing, Alvin told Judge Carpenter that he plans on living in his family’s home in Bessemer and getting a job in carpentry as CBS47 reported.

What do you think of how Alvin was given his freedom back after serving over three decades in prison for stealing $50 from a bakery? What do you think needs to be done to stop courts from handing down unjust sentences?