Jails and Prisons

Florida parole board sets path to freedom for prison Houdini

A man known as the "prison Houdini" for his numerous escapes was given a path to freedom Thursday, 36 years after being convicted of stealing mechanic tools his father bequeathed to him.

Florida's parole board voted 2-1 to set a July 26 release date, choosing to get Mark DeFriest help for mental health issues and prepare him for the world outside of prison rather than punish him for acting out after a series of recent missteps left him in solitary confinement in an Oregon prison.

"He's not a murderer, he's not a rapist, he doesn't have a history of violence," Florida Commission on Offender Review Chairwoman Melinda Coonrod said Wednesday during debate...