It might be a niche genre, but I always enjoy a good prison escape film. Even when movies wherein breaking out of confinement is only a short sequence, it’s something I’ve always found compelling. But one thing you learn as you get older is that a lot of the things that are awesome on the big screen are essentially impossible in real life.
The mechanics of escaping from a huge facility designed specifically for keeping people in is a near impossible task, so digging through a wall with a spoon or tricking the guards is unlikely to really work. And that doesn’t even go into what happens after you’ve escaped. With your face plastered across newspapers and the entire police force on your case, you’ve got a tough job getting anywhere.
That’s an aspect that I’ve always wondered about – would you have to change identities or stay on the move for the rest of your life? How would you even manage to claim a new identity without someone picking up on it? It all sounds so impractical when you put it like that. But it turns out it really is possible, as one prisoner proved 32 years ago.
On December 26 1984, Steven Dishman was arrested for theft and burglary. He was sent to a prison in Washington County, where he was set to serve a seven-year sentence for his crimes. But he wasn’t planning on staying there for very long. Not long after, on May 28 1985, Dishman pulled off a daring escape from the jail.
Ever since that day, he has managed to evade the authorities and is believed to have been living under a false identity. Police were tipped off by someone who had met him in 1990, five years after he had escaped. Exact details of what led to the now 60-year-old man have not been revealed at this time.
Dishman escaped from Cummins unit in Lincoln County, around 270 miles away from where he was discovered this week. He was arrested at a house in Springdale, Northwest Arkansas by local police and state troopers on Sunday. State police Lieutenant Liz Chapman said that he was arrested without incident.
Those who knew him under his new guise are being questioned by the police, while according to Public Information Officer for the Arkansas Department of Corrections Solomon Graves, Dishman would be required to serve the rest of his seven-year sentence. Prosecutors will later decide what further action is to be taken against him for the breakout.
If the escapee hadn’t escaped in 1985, he would have been up for parole in December 1987. And he’s not the only one. According to the Arkansas Department of Corrections website, four prisoners are still at large in the state. Out of this group, the longest standing one is Veal Lee, who escaped on July 15 1984.
While Steven Dishman’s sentence may seem long, it’s nothing compared to what some prisoners face. Those sentenced to death show a much darker side to punishment, as the vicious final words of a death row inmate show.