RALEIGH, N.C. — People are speaking out against the imprisonment of a North Carolina man for more than 30 years for stealing a television.
The group is protesting the North Carolina Parole Board's refusal to release Allen after 34 years behind bars outside the Department of Correction Offices on Yonkers Road.
In 1969, a jury convicted Allen of second-degree burglary for stealing a $140 television set from a home in Johnston County.
At that time, the crime was punishable by up to life in prison -- which is the sentence Allen received from Judge James Pou Bailey.
The Parole Commission, which has denied Allen's previous requests for parole, has offered him entry into a job training and work release program. If he meets all the conditions, Allen could get out of prison in October 2005.
"By the time he get out he will be 65, which means he will be able to draw Social Security. They are talking about giving the man work release? It doesn't make any sense, it's crazy," protester Jim Grant said.
However, not everyone believes Allen should get out of jail. Monroe Johnson said Allen beat his mother before taking her television.
"I think he deserved it, and I think he should stay in there," Johnson said.
Allen was never charged with assault, and there is no mention of it in the court records. In the last 10 years, North Carolina prisons have released 1,600 inmates -- all convicted of second-degree murder.