Jack Allen is a sixty two year old man, and he lives in a Florida prison. Twenty years ago, in the spring of 1997, he was arrested for Burglary with Simple Battery. In order for Jack to complete the sentence he was ultimately given, he must die. If a person gets ‘life’ in the state of Florida, like Jack did, it doesn’t matter if they are twenty years old or fifty – they will live to die in prison. It also doesn’t matter if they feel remorse or if they dedicate themselves to helping their fellow inmates. It doesn’t matter if they take every class the prison has to offer. Nothing they do matters.
There was life before prison for Jack Allen. There was life before children and marriage and responsibilities. There was childhood. For Jack there were some challenges from the beginning. He tells of being molested by a babysitter when he was three years old. From the age of eleven, he learned how to deal with foster care, low income housing and being on welfare.
A child’s mind isn’t normally well equipped for those types of things, as they maneuver through life and its growing pains. None of us can really know how it felt to be that little boy, or the growing man who didn’t know how to process the things he went through and instead attempted to numb himself with alcohol and drugs.
I don’t know much about the case that he is serving Life for. There are questions, but more important than the questions, to me, is that Jack has served enough time for Burglary with Simple Battery, regardless of the case.
Jack Allen describes a Life Sentence in Florida like this:
“It becomes worse and worse after every court denial, every death in the family, every marriage missed, every child born without you there. Special days like graduations and so forth are just nails in your coffin. Each passing day, more dirt is thrown on your grave, you are dead, and your body just does not know it yet.”
In the twenty years that he has been in prison, Jack Allen has lost three brothers, a sister and a mother. He is sixty two years old and is not in the best of health. The little boy who had more than his fair share of troubles, grew into a man that leaned on things he shouldn’t have and found himself in prison. He was charged with Burglary and Simple Battery, has spent about a third of his life behind bars and as it stands, he will never again be free, no matter how old or feeble he gets. The state of Florida intends to incarcerate him until his last breath.
If you would like to read more about the details of Jack Allen’s case and sign a petition in support of his release, click HERE.