MARYLAND: Under & Out

Convict Joseph Holmes liked music. Every day from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., the loudspeakers in Maryland's State Penitentiary blared out radio programs for the prisoners' entertainment, and Holmes scraped away at his tunnel. The radio drowned out the noise.

Holmes, a slender, 39-year-old Negro, had loosened a piece of slate on the floor under the bunk in his cell. Then he chipped patiently through ten inches of concrete, burrowed diagonally downward for ten feet and leveled off under the massive stone wall. He kept digging, tunneled on under a dry moat, then turned upward again. He had 26 feet...