In the 33 years since her escape from a Georgia women's prison, Deborah Ann Gavin Murphey was able to evade authorities and keep most of her past to herself, carving out a small-town life in East Texas where she worked as a nurse and raised two children.I've got really mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, nobody wants to reward a prison escape (and I don't know the statute of limitations for such a crime in Georgia). But from a public safety perspective, I'm not sure anyone benefits from her future prosecution or incarceration. Years of fear, isolation, and living a "hermit"-like existence (according to her acquaintances) surely were punishment enough, particularly coupled with years of marital stability, successful child rearing, and service as a practitioner of the healing arts.
Then there are the mitigating factors around her escape. Murphey, who was 20-years old when she escaped for the sixth and final time, was allegedly sexually abused at the prison, which the Chronicle reports did have serious, confirmed cases of sexual assault on female inmates during the time she was incarcerated.
Bottom line, this woman got away from a life of crime and made a life for herself and her family. Does it make sense to punish her now for what happened in the early '70s?
What do you think?