An Arkansas prison inmate, Steven Dishman, 60, who escaped 32 years ago from the Cummins Unit Prison in Grady, Arkansas, after having served just one year of a 7-year-long sentence, was arrested on Sunday in Springdale. The Arkansas Department of Corrections said in a statement that in 1984, Dishman was found guilty of committing burglary in Washington County. He escaped from prison on May 28, 1985.
ABC News reported that Dishman would have been eligible for parole in 1987. Even if he had not been granted parole, Dishman was scheduled to be released from prison on June 28, 1991, according to the New York Times. The Washington Post reported that Dishman escaped from the Benton Unit of the Cummins Unit Prison.
The Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement officials took Dishman into custody on Sunday, at “a quiet neighborhood in Springdale.” Springdale is located approximately 200 miles northwest of Little Rock, and Dishman was arrested in a duplex there. He was arrested after a tipster who met Dishman approximately five years following his escape from prison went to the authorities this past weekend and gave them information that led to Dishman’s capture.
Dishman’s mother, Shirley Jones said, in an interview with the Associated Press (AP), that around six months after her son escaped, he contacted her. She described her son as being “a good person,” and said since he has gotten out of prison, he has not been in any trouble. Dishman was visiting Jones when he was arrested.
Dishman has been surviving and remaining under the radar since his escape for 32 years is a matter of conjecture. Jones said her son had never been married and did not have any children.
A man who lives across the street from the duplex where Dishman was arrested, Arther Galloway, said that he was attending church with his wife at the time the police came and apprehended Dishman. Galloway did not know about the arrest until on Monday, when he read about it in a newspaper.
Galloway said that the owner of the duplex lived with a friend he had known for a long time. Galloway stated that both the home owner and his friend had “health issues.” The New York Times could not reach the home owner for a comment.
Dishman’s mother said her son has been living in southern Arkansas. She would not say exactly where Dishman has been living, though, or provide any further details related to his whereabouts during the past 32 years.
Dishman has definitely changed how he looks over the three plus decades he has been on the lam. In photos of him at the time of his arrest, Dishman has long dark hair and a mustache and beard. Dishman’s photos at age 60 shows that he is now balding and he no longer has a beard and mustache.
Dishman escaped after only having served one year of his sentence. He will now have to serve out the rest of his sentence, amounting to six years in prison. It has not been mentioned yet if Dishman will also be required to serve additional time because he escaped in 1985. An investigation into his escape and capture has been launched, and individuals are being questioned by officials from “the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division” and asked if they might have known him, but only knew him by an alias.
The website for the Arkansas Department of Corrections lists one inmate who escaped and has been on the loose even longer than Steven Dishman. Veal Lee escaped in 1984, one year prior to Dishman’s escape, and is still at large.
Since his escape from prison in Arkansas 32 years ago, Steven Dishman, 60, has been a free man, though on the lam. A tip led the police to Springdale, Arkansas, where they finally caught up with Dishman and arrested him. An investigation into how Dishman managed to evade the police for over three decades is ongoing, and the police are questioning people who might have known him under other assumed names.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections