Prison escape is often met with harsh penalties as means of deterring escape attempts. By adding increased sentences as a result of an escape or escape attempt, authorities hope to instill the idea that it is better to serve out a single term peacefully rather than risk an even longer time in jail. For prisoners that have committed crimes that allow a possibility of parole, a prison escape or attempted escape often severely impairs chances of being granted an early release from jail.
Of course, the goal of escapees is to successfully get away, but those who are caught are likely to find a return to prison an even more difficult experience. Besides official penalties such as fines, an increased sentence, or other legal measures, prisoners considered to be flight risks are likely to be placed under a much heavier guard and may not be able to participate in most prison activities or programs.
In Germany and neighboring Austria, however, escape is unpunished as such. In 1880, the legislature was of the opinion that ‘self-liberation’ should remain unpunished, because it reflects a natural instinct of human freedom, and the latter had a right to freedom.