Tyson may get to fight on work release

Program would make bout possible by late spring

February 10, 1999|By RAFAEL ALVAREZ | RAFAEL ALVAREZ,SUN STAFF

Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson -- sentenced last week to a year in a Montgomery County jail for assaulting two motorists after a minor traffic accident last August -- may be able to fight on a work-release program by late spring.

Tyson, 32, entered an early prison release screening program yesterday that could get him out of jail and back in training within four months, said a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

"Everyone who is sentenced to serve [local] time in Montgomery County is eligible for the pre-release center, which is a work release program," said Claire Gunster-Kirby, a spokeswoman for the detention center. "Should Tyson go to work release we would work with him to continue in his profession. If that included training for coming fights, we would try to help him."

There are accountability requirements for inmates to participate in work release, said Gunster-Kirby, who said reporters were calling her about the Tyson case from all over the world.

Those requirements include returning to the center at the end of each work day and checks to make sure the inmate is where he is supposed to be during work.

By law, an inmate must be within six months of release to be eligible for the Montgomery County work program. With time off for good behavior and participation in certain prison programs, Tyson could be eligible for work-release after serving three to four months.

He will qualify for parole in three months.

Tyson, who served three years in prison for a 1992 rape conviction, was expected to undergo psychological tests this week that would help county authorities determine whether he should be given an early transfer to the work-release center.

The pre-release screening process was expected to last two weeks, meaning that authorities could set a tentative date for his release from jail by the end of the month.

Tyson's attorneys have yet to say whether they will appeal the jail term the boxer received after pleading no contest to charges that he punched a 62-year-old motorist in the jaw and kicked another 50-year-old man in the groin following the August traffic accident.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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