Here’s an example from the Chicago Tribune of how the sentencing system sometimes works: Paul Komyatti Jr. was sent to prison as a teenager in 1983. Next week, he’s scheduled to emerge as a free man at age 44. There will be no family to greet him as he takes his first steps back into society. They were all convicted for their roles in the murder of Komyatti’s father, Paul Sr., who was stabbed and decapitated as he slept in his home.
Komyatti was sentenced to 100 years in prison — 55 years for murder and 45 years for conspiracy, to be served concurrently. Good behavior and education credits are leading to his release. While in prison, Komyatti earned a bachelor’s degree in history and associate degrees in criminal justice and general studies. He may have a good shot of never returning to prison. A study by The Sentencing Project says that four out of five people sentenced from “a number of years” to life are not rearrested when released. “Crime is a young persons’ pursuit; we know that people age out of crime,” said the group’s Ryan King.