Freedom is among the most basic human rights that very often people take for granted. It’s also the most powerful self-preservation instinct that can drive people’s creativity and imagination far above their limits. The place that freedom is the most discussed and dreamed-of subject? Prisons, of course. While some prisoners use the time in jail to think about the mistakes they’ve made in life and how to fix them, others spend it by making jaw dropping prison break plans that have inspired writers and film-makers worldwide. Here are 25 of the greatest examples.
1. The Stalag Luft Escape
Stalag Luft was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp in which the Auxiliary Air Force pilot Roger Bushell convinced 600 other prisoners to dig three tunnels. In order to keep the plan hidden from prison guards, the tunnels were called Harry, Tom, and Dick. Not wasting any time to dig too wide, the men made a 30 foot deep crawl space which allowed a man to pass through. Almost 80 of them all tasted the freedom after Harry was finished, however, only 3 escaped for good. The rest of the men were caught.
2. The questionable escape of Sławomir Rawicz
After the German-Soviet invasion of Poland, the Polish Army lieutenant, Sławomir Rawicz, was imprisoned in a Siberian gulag, a labor camp maintained in the former Soviet Union from 1930 to 1955 in which many people died. In the book called “The Long Walk”, Rawicz claimed that he had escaped the gulag with 6 other prisoners, walking on foot and passing through the Tibetian Gobi Desert and reaching Britain India year later. However, in 2006 reporters released Soviet records proving that the escape to India never happened. Rawicz was actually released in 1942 as part of the amnesty of Poles and transported to an Indian refugee camp. Dates and facts contradict with the book’s storyline. Some of the evidence were statements written by Rawicz himself and the whole escape-story remains false.
3. The biggest prison break in British history
This story shows that human behavior can be very predictable if watched closely and persistently. Bobby Storey was an IRA soldier that was imprisoned in the British HM Maze Prison – the most escape-proof prison in Europe at the time. After months of planning, on 25 September 1983, Storey alongside with Gerry Kelly, also an IRA soldier, managed to seize control of H7 Block by taking the prison guards hostage. One officer took a shot to the head and many others were injured during the prisoners’ attack, making it possible for 35 men to escape dressed in the officers’ uniforms. Still the biggest in UK history, this prison break is now the true-events story behind the movie “Maze” (2017).
4. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman
Considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” and “the biggest drug lord of all time”, Joaquin Guzman, a.k.a. “El Chapo” was an extremely feared man. On 9 June 1993, Joaquin Guzman was captured in Guatemala, extradited to Mexico and sentenced to 20 years. However, being as powerful as El Chapo was, it was child’s play for the drug lord to hold his position even when imprisoned. On 22 November 1995, he was transferred to the maximum-security prison Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation No. 2 in Jalisco. In 2001, Guzmán bribed guards (with $2.5 million) to ensure his escape. After 13 years of hunting, he was caught again and transferred to the maximum-security prison in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico, on a Federal Police Black Hawk helicopter. On 11 July 2015, Guzman escaped for the second time, but a year later on 8 January 2016, he was yet again arrested. Was this the final arrest of the most feared man on the planet? Only time can tell.
5. The 2010 Kingman Arizona State Prison Escape
In 2010, local law enforcement captured prisoners Daniel Renwick, Tracy Province and John McCluskey after their escape from the privately run Kingman Arizona State Prison. Renwick, Province, and McCluskey has been previously convicted of violent crimes. Two were imprisoned for murder . Due to security breakdowns, the three inmates escaped with the help of The an accomplice, Casslyn Welch, who was also arrested afterward. The escape was quite bold and well organized. On July 30, 2010, Welch parked a Chevy blazer behind the prison and tossed bolt cutters and pliers over a chain-link fence. The inmates cut a hole and escaped. After separating outside, Renwick vanished with the car. The other three walked almost 9 miles and took possession of a semi truck, shoving the drivers into the sleeper. After they were caught, McCluskey and Province received life imprisonment. Welch received a 20-year Arizona sentence and Renwick was consecutively sentenced to 48 years in Colorado state prison.