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Prison Houdini Escapes 7 Times In 36 Years

‘Prison Houdini’ Sentenced To Four Years, Ends Up Serving 36 Because He Won’t Stop Escaping

Floridians are always trying to do things the hard way, it seems. Such is the case with “Prison Houdini” Mark DeFriest, the subject of an upcoming documentary. DeFriest has successfully escaped from prison on seven different occasions. He’s not quite as good at staying free, though. After getting sent up the river on a tool theft charge 36 years ago, he continues to serve time in the nation’s prison systems — now in California — with very little time free. As a result, he is serving what the Washington Post calls “a virtual life sentence.”

If we had to give legal advice to DeFriest, it would probably sound something like Jim Carrey in the film Liar, Liar. “STOP BREAKING THE LAW, ASSHOLE!” Unfortunately, DeFriest isn’t the only Floridian whackadoodle in this equation, though.

While his offenses have been compounding over time with a history of disciplinary problems inside the prison walls, it’s not entirely — or even close to — his fault. That’s because he was mistakenly assigned to maximum security status while in Florida and spent much of his time in the worst conditions in spite of having no history of violence or sexual deviancy. So that leaves the question: who are the real assholes here?