C.A. Sarsfield tells the story of Frank Freshwaters, whose real-life jailbreak echoes the plot of the film The Shawshank Redemption.


Found guilty and given a sentence of up to twenty years at the Ohio State Reformatory (the prison where some scenes in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption were shot, which told the story of Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, a man wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and sentenced to two life sentences) for a parole violation after he had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges from a car accident in 1957, Frank Freshwaters, smiled at the court official as he was led away. The reason for this smile, was simple, Freshwaters had no intention of spending twenty years in prison, and was already making mental plans on how to escape.

The difference between Dufresne and Freshwaters was that according to the script in the film Dufresne was wrongfully convicted, whereas there can be no doubt that Freshwaters was guilty. In 1957, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing a pedestrian with a vehicle, and received a suspended sentence, but two years later a prison term of twenty years was imposed after he violated his probation by driving and obtaining a driver’s licence.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own (issue 5619)