A death-defying escape by two inmates from a federal prison in downtown Chicago has law enforcement officers, prison officials, and the general public wondering how they managed to pull it off, and that they dared to do it at all, says the Christian Science Monitor. Joseph Banks and Kenneth Conley, bank robbers imprisoned on separate charges, seemingly vanished early Tuesday after they apparently rappelled down 15 stories of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high-rise federal facility, in the middle of the night on a knotted chain of bed sheets secured to the bars of their prison cell.
It was only the second escape ever from the 37-year-old Chicago facility, and the first since the 1980s. While escapes from prison can capture the public's imagination, few are successful, says John Paitakes, a criminal justice professor at Seton Hall University and a former member of the New Jersey State Parole Board. While all inmates usually fantasize about escaping, he says, those that make the attempt are typically facing long prison terms, or need to confront or resolve a personal issue involving a family member, spouse, or significant other.