While the FBI's most wanted woman was recently arrested and a so-called "affluenza teen" just got two years in jail for a fatal drunk driving accident, some prisoners have been getting out of jail a bit early. Dustin "Screech" Diamond scored a get out of jail early card for being really good at scrubbing the floors, for example. A Louisiana prisoner was released from prison early on Friday after serving 41 years of an unconstitutional life sentence.
Gary Tyler, 57, was sentenced to life for the shooting death of a white high school student during a time when the state was fighting to segregate schools, accounting for particularly high racial tensions. After Tyler entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 21 years, the Huffington Post reports he walked free from Angola, one of the state's toughest prisons.
In 1974 at the age of 16, Tyler, who is black, became the youngest person on Louisiana's Death Row when he was charged with killing 13-year-old Thomas Weber in southern Louisiana. Those who testified against him recanted their stories after Tyler received a death sentence, but he never got a new trial.
His death sentence was changed to life in 1976 when the state got rid of its mandatory death penalty. The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Paroles voted three times to reduce his sentence, but Tyler still served eight years in solitary confinement and more than 30 in the general population.
Tyler is one of many who were given excessively harsh sentences around the same time and serves as an example of the unfair treatment of minorities in the Louisiana justice system during times of high racial tensions.