The State of California's Correction people are crowing over their big catch. They tracked down a prison escapee after 38 years. They found him living in a trailer park in Oklahoma, working the sort of odd jobs you can get without having proper ID.
Now this guy was no murderer or rapist, just a thief three years into a five year term. For the past thirty-eight years, he has never had a single run-in with the law that would have led to his being fingerprinted.
Do you think that a man like that needs to go back to jail to complete his sentence? Perhaps even have years tacked on for 'Escape'? I don't.
The part of prison that is punishment was certainly fulfilled by thirty-eight years of living hand-to-mouth, forced to skulk in the shadows. The part that is rehabilitation was certainly accomplished by keeping his nose clean this long.
If I was the judge at the hearing, I would release him for time served (and suspend the sentence for the 'Escape' charge). If I was the governor, I would commute the rest of the sentence.
A little common sense and a little heart would blend nicely at this juncture. The vast majority of today's prison inmates were not born when this guy escaped. Let's not, as a society, be so crass as to observe the letter of the law in this instance.