Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things you know exist but do not actually know.

From time to time a person makes the news for holding some kind of record that I did not realize existed.  However, if I think about the particular record, I realize that there has to be someone who is the record holder.  After all, someone was the tallest person.

An example of this occurred this morning when I read the Arizona Republic article about Betty Smithey.  Until today, Ms. Smithey had the distinction of being the longest-serving female prison inmate in the United States.  Ms. Smithey no longer holds the record—or at least is no longer adding to the record—because she has been released from prison.  Ms. Smithey had been in prison for 49 years for killing a fifteenth-month-old girl she was babysitting.  A scenario that is probably high on the list of every parents' worst nightmare. 

According to the article, Ms. Smithey, who is now 69 and apparently somewhat infirm, belonged to a special category of prisoners who needed to receive a sentence commutation from life in prison to a term of 49-years-to-life from the governor of Arizona as well as the support of Arizona's Board of Executive Clemency before she could be released.  Ms. Smithey is only the third person to in Arizona to receive this treatment.  Although it is not clear from the article how many prisoners in Arizona fall into this category.

According to this, now that Ms. Smithey is out of prison, the longest-female prisoner is Marie Arrington.  Not counting a brief period of escape, Ms. Arrington has been in prison since 1968.  Ms. Arrington is also apparently the oldest female prison inmate.

I could not determine who is currently the longest-serving male prison inmate.  Until March, it was William Heirens.

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