Prisoners Right to Serve a Sentence Continuously
In Jacobs v. Robinson, 49 Pa. Commw. 194, 410 A.2d 959 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980), an inmate participating in a work-release program failed to return to custody.
Prison authorities obtained a warrant charging him with escape, and the inmate was apprehended.
The records officer at the prison denied the inmate credit for the time during which he was at large as an escapee.
On appeal, this court stated that, although a prisoner has the right to serve a sentence continuously and cannot be compelled to serve a sentence in installments, the act of escape tolls the running of the sentence and allows the sentence to be extended. Id.
This case indicates that a prisoner has the right to serve a sentence continuously rather than in installments, but a continuous sentence may be interrupted by some fault of the prisoner. See McDonald v. Lee, 217 F.2d 619 (5th Cir. (Tex.), 1954), vacated as moot, 349 U.S. 948, 75 S. Ct. 893, 99 L. Ed. 1274 (1955).
The principle is applicable where prison authorities erroneously release a prisoner from prison and then deny the prisoner credit for the time spent outside prison.