Monday, December 19, 2011

Nation's longest serving prisoner about to be released

Harry S. Truman was still president when Harvey Stewart first went to prison. Stewart is probably the longest serving prisoner in the nation. However, the state of Texas may soon parole him, according to the Associated Press.

Stewart is certainly the longest-serving inmate among the 155,000 prisoners in the Texas system, and research by the Associated Press found no one having spent a longer period of time incarcerated. Although, prison officials and historians say they're unaware of any agency or organization that keeps track of all inmates' jail time.

Among other states with significant prison populations, convicted murderer James Moore, 78, has been locked up in New York since 1963. In California, 80-year-old Booker Hillery first went to prison in 1955 for rape and was returned in 1962 for a murder earlier that year while on parole Norman Parker is Florida's longest-serving inmate, arriving in 1967, reported the Associated Press.

Stewart was first sent to prison in spring 1951 after a junk yard heist in Houston got him a 10-year sentence. He was paroled after serving six years but was convicted in 1958 of murdering a man in Beaumont and received a life sentence. Seven years later he broke out of prison for several days, then waited another two decades before being paroled a second time to a halfway house and worked as a dishwasher. By the summer 1986 he was back behind bars, busted for a robbery plot.

The 83-year-old Stewart reassured, in a way, parole officials by telling them, “I'm too damn old to do any robbing...I think I am anyway. My old ticker might kick out on me," reported the Associated Press.

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