[UPDATE] Woman Who Escaped Fla. Prison in 1975 Released

By: Jerry Askin, Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Jerry Askin, Lanetra Bennett Email

UPDATE - 04-01-2011 at 4:45pm by Jerry Askin

Earlier this year, we told you about a Florida woman who was re-captured after escaping from prison 35 years ago. Now, after serving some additional time and some good fortune, she's back home with her family.

Paula Carroll says, "I was thanking God and I was thinking it's cold out here."

That's the feeling Carroll says she felt Friday after being released from prison. Now, she plans to spend the rest of her life peacefully with her family and hopefully never behind bars again.

Her son Jeremy Brown says, "I'm happy, I'm glad she's home. We've been waiting for this for a long time and now that it's finally here it's exciting."

Paula Carroll was released Friday morning from the Gadsden Correctional Institute. She was originally serving a 5-year sentence on a stolen property charge when she escaped from a central Florida prison in September 1975.

Carroll was captured in April 2010 and taken back into custody. But after she escaped, she changed her life for the better.

Carroll says, "I made the decision. I could have gone with this group of people or this group of people, I could have stayed during drugs and I chose not to."

Ramon Brown says, "Like a little kid in a candy store."

That's how Carroll's husband felt when he saw his wife as a free woman Friday morning.

He says, "Very great feeling, I haven't felt anything so great since my kids were born."

Carroll's attorney says her previous charges were paroled and she was granted parole with an early release time. Now she says she's happy to reunite with her family and enjoy life as a free woman.

Carroll says, "I'm gonna go home and plant my garden because it's almost too late."

Carroll was sentenced to one year in prison for her escape and the Florida Parole Commission agreed to let her serve only 45% of her sentence, instead of the normal 85%.

[UPDATE] 4-1 11:58am --

A woman who escaped from a Florida prison more than 35 years ago and was recaptured last year is now free.

This morning Paula Carroll was released from the Gadsden County Correctional Institute.

Carroll was serving a five year sentence on a stolen property charge when she escaped from a central Florida prison in September 1975.
She was taken back into custody in April 2010.

Last November, she was sentenced to one year in prison for her escape. Then just last week, Carroll was granted parole with an early release date and this 4/1 morning she was released.

Tonight on Eyewitness News, we'll hear from Carroll about her past and her plans for the future.



Eyewitness News reported that the Florida Parole Commission recommended parole for Paula Carroll, who escaped from prison in 1975.

Friday, we were with her attorney when he told Carroll if the request was granted.

Attorney John Eagen calls his client about their request for early release.

"They won't go for that." Paula Carroll said over the phone. "You want to know what? Said, Eagen, "They did go for it and you're being released on Friday. I'm not kidding you, Paula."

Carroll was arrested in April 2010 and charged with escape.

The 55-year-old escaped from Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida back in 1975, and had been living a new life in South Florida for nearly 35 years.

Carroll's original five-year-sentence for dealing with stolen property was paroled.

But, last November, she was sentenced to one year for the escape.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011, The Florida Parole Commission recommended that she serve only 45 percent of her sentence, instead of the normal 85 percent.

The Florida Department of Corrections went with the recommendation.

On Friday, March 25, Eagen called Carroll, who's now in Gadsden Correctional Institution, with the news.

"Oh, my God." She said. Eagen said, "You're going to be released April 1st."

D.O.C. counted October as Carroll's parole date, giving her gain time.

"So, you're happy?" Eagen asked.

Carroll replied, "Oh, oh, yeah. Oh, gosh, the weirdest thing just popped in my head. What is that? I'll be home in time to plant okra."

Along with gardening, Carroll says she looks forward to seeing her family.

"Oh, my gosh. Oh, John, you are great. Oh, no, God is great."

Eagen says there are no conditions to Carroll's parole.



John Eagen, the attorney for Paula Carroll, told WCTV that his client
will be out of prison on April 1, 2011.

Eagen says the Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed with the Florida Parole Commission's recommendations of making Carroll serve only 45 percent of her sentence instead of the standard 85 percent.


The case of 55-year old Paula Carroll was before the Florida Parole Commission again this morning. She was sentenced to one year in prison because of her escape, but it's up to the Department of Corrections to decide if she'll get out sooner.

Ramon Brown walked out the doors of the Florida Parole Commission more at ease Wednesday after hearing what he describes as good news for his wife.

Brown says, "I've been under a lot of stress, doctor's care, everything like that, and from what they've told me today, it kind of healed my heart a little bit."

Brown's wife, Paula Carroll, was serving a five year sentence for buying, receiving or concealing stolen property when she escaped from what is now the Lowell Correctional Institute in September 1975.

After escaping, she changed her identity and was living under the name Sharon Brown. But, Brown says in April 2010, his wife was captured at her Melbourne home and taken back into custody.

Brown says, "She's done nothing but helped people for 35 years and she says until the day she's not here on Earth she's going to do nothing but help people."

Last November, she was sentenced to one year in prison for her escape and her previous charges were paroled.

Carroll's attorney, John Eagen says during her time out of prison, she was a pillar in her community who volunteered to help others. And now she deserves justice.

Eagen says, "We're putting somebody out there that's not a detriment to society, but actually a benefit to it, and I think the parole commission realizes that as well."

Today, the commission restructured Carroll's previous parole, but she still has to serve her one year sentence which will be up this November.

Carroll's attorney says she could possibly be out of prison in the coming months based on her gain time or time for good behavior served while in prison.

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  • by TIR on Apr 1, 2011 at 02:38 PM
    This THUG committed a crime and I don't care how many years ago it happened. She should have done the time for her crime. It shocks me NOT that the people on here defended her nor that she got off. Non-violent crimes are still crimes and should be punished but for the majority of you, that doesn't apply to people who look like her. When a person commits a crime we shouldn't be able to pick and choose who pays, but alas, some people have that privilege.
    • reply
      by Troll Hunter on Apr 1, 2011 at 06:22 PM in reply to TIR
      What about the thug what trashed the Burger King in Panama City? Should she do the time for her crime? It's on video of her committing the crime, and as you said, "we shouldn't be able to pick and choose who pays, but alas, some people have that privilege". Of course no one was shocked that you defended her. Violent crimes are still crimes also and should be punished but for you, that doesn't apply to people who look like her.
    • reply
      by Lip Cheese on Apr 1, 2011 at 08:11 PM in reply to TIR
      Webster's Dictionary: : a brutal ruffian or assassin : gangster, tough. (I realize you are uneducated and bigoted TIR, but really. Type in Google and just type in the question you have and you can be educated.)
  • by The Taxpay Yours Location: Gadsden on Apr 1, 2011 at 09:57 AM
    We can't afford to continue incarceration of non-violent taxpaying citizens. It has to stop. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. More than 1 in 100 adults in the United States are in prison. The United States has less than 5% of the world's population and 23.4% of the world's prison population.
  • by You Go Girl Location: Tally on Apr 1, 2011 at 09:24 AM
    Hahahaha you go girl, sorry but non violent offenders do not need to be taken up space in prisons when we have way worse people out here
  • by all for one one for all Location: fl on Mar 26, 2011 at 04:11 PM
    stolen property. have you ever had your home broken into? kinda t's you off.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on Mar 26, 2011 at 05:17 AM
    In lieu of prison, let her stay in my home for year & I'll take that $22k from the state. Deal? She can plant her okra in my back yard along side my 'maters.
    • reply
      by Lip Cheese on Apr 1, 2011 at 08:13 PM in reply to Bolillo
      You know Bolillo, that's a good idea. Indentured servants instead of prison...Hmmm, something to think about. They used to do that in England.
  • by Laura on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM
    Buying stollen property is a higher crime then going out and stealing it in the first place. If you are dealing(buying/selling) the stollen property then your sentence will be higher than you actually going and stealing it yourself, which is really crazy. So take it too heart be careful what you buy from someone else.
    • reply
      by Deutch on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:43 AM in reply to Laura
      Quite frankly, I wasn't aware that buying a German Christmas pastry was a crime!
      • reply
        by Lip Cheese on Apr 1, 2011 at 08:14 PM in reply to Deutch
        Deutch, that was a good one, I missed it. Good show!!
  • by lol on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM
    I'm glad she'll be released. 5 years for buying stolen property was rediculous in the first place. It's a waste of tax payer dollars.
  • by VON Location: THOMASVILLE, GA> on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM
    this lady and i do say LADY has proved herself to society, set her free from all charges,JESUS did. YE that have done no wrong cast the first stone.>>>>>> aman
  • by GET A LIFE Location: tALLAHASSEE on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:02 AM
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM in reply to GET A LIFE
      I think you are the one who needs to get a life and quit throwing out the race card- as USUAL! get over it! This woman has nothing to do with what happened to African Americans all those years ago! Nor does any other white person alive today. Drop the racism- it helps nothing and makes you look stupid.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM in reply to
        The money we worked for is still in your pockets!
        • reply
          by Anony on Apr 1, 2011 at 09:11 AM in reply to
          Not every white person owned a slave and most of those that did are dead and the white people today are getting blamed for something that happened YEARS ago that they have no control over. I agree drop the racism. And your money isn't in anyones pocket.
      • reply
        by GET A LIFE lIKE I sAID on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:35 PM in reply to
        YOu should go and sit with her i'm sure your just like her think it's ok to buy OTHER People STUFF lol like i said her behind needs to set 10yr just for the Escape alone if she was BLACK she would i will bet money on that no put that in your pipe and smoke it the only person sounding STUPID is you willing to let someone go who hasnt' done her time 35yrs on the run does not make up for it she is a TROUBLE blank
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 1, 2011 at 05:55 PM in reply to GET A LIFE
      that is true. really if it were a black man. no one is playing the race card. the truth is that racism still exist in 2011. blacks are still treated unfairly, like alway, unless u are an athlete or movie star(money). i dont blame no one for slavery. this is about the same bs over and over. and you all should get over it. IT DONT RUB OFF
  • by csmith Location: tally on Mar 25, 2011 at 06:43 AM
    simple. do the crime, do the time. no matter when. she broke the law and needs to pay for it.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM in reply to csmith
      If you really want someone to do the time, how do you give someone 3 consecutive life sentences. If they die after 5 years, the prison should keep them another 10 years in their cell.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 1, 2011 at 05:48 PM in reply to
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