An inmate convicted of pre-meditated murder in 1984 was currently serving a life sentence. He probably felt like he had nothing to lose. In 1988 his first escape was almost successful. While working in the wood shop, he built a makeshift ladder and scaled a wall to freedom. Later he was found fishing coins out of a fountain in a nearby town.
He tried to escape again. This time, using an electrical cord from a buffer, he tried repelling out of a window. The cord was too short and he had to drop 25 feet which resulted in breaking both of his ankles. The guards found him laying where he landed.
If you escaped or attempted escaping, it would result in another court-martial. After sentencing, your current time stops, your new time starts and once that has been served, your old sentence picks back up. I believe he got three years for this escape attempt, but what’s three more years on a life sentence anyways.
The part that sucks, besides the broken ankles is that much of that time will be served in solitary confinement.
I understand the reason inmates tried to escape. There may be different motives but, in the end it was all for the same reason. We crave freedom. Only problem is, until the “sin” is paid for, there can be no freedom.
There was a point when time seemed to stop moving. Having been locked up for a year was really not very long. Especially when compared to some of the other guys who had been in this place as long as I had been alive. It was relative though.
You get to a place where even watching the second hand on a clock seemed to make it slow down. So much time had wasted away and there was so much time left to go. My projected release date was in February, 1993 with good time. An eternity.
There were times in my cell that so much anxiety would build up that I actually thought I could hear an audible snap in my brain when it hit its peak. This was probably the closest thing I ever experienced, to what people called a nervous breakdown.
When my breathing started to speed up and the tightness in my chest got too intense, I would start pacing in my cell. Walking in a line from the back of the cell, to the door, to the back again. Four steps one way, three steps the other way. I’m not sure if this burned energy or added to the anxiety.
The feeling of wanting to scream would not go away. My ears would start ringing, slow and quiet at first but then progressively getting louder more shrill. The sound of the other inmates conversations loud and constant, added to the ringing pushing me over the edge to where my pacing became frantic.
My mind and thoughts began to slip away, become out of reach, then lost. It would be at this time that I would hear the snap in my head and then drop on to my bunk exhausted. Then I would just lay there and zone out. This happened more than I can count and there was no way to control it.
Once the cell door was closed for lock down, that was it.
No escape from the prison, no escape from the cell and no escape from the panic.
My parole eligibility date was quite a few months away, but I needed to get the heck out of this place. It was about time for me to get a parole packet in the works. In order to have everything that they needed from me, I had get my stuff together.
There had to be written proof of a place to stay, written proof of a guaranteed job or interview, substantial cash to prove that I could support myself upon release. This would prove to the board that I was not planning to resort back to crime. If I didn’t have all that, I would be denied parole, until reconsideration an entire year later.
The possibility of parole was slim to none. Other inmates said that hardly anyone makes it the first time. The word was that you needed to have served at least fifty-one percent of your sentence before they would give you parole. Even though, I had only served a fifth of my sentence, I had to try anyways.