How long was Tom Robinson is prison for after he was found guilty?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are not told exactly how long Tom is in prison after the trial. We know that he is sent to Enfield Prison Farm, which is described as about seventy miles away from Maycomb, and his family is not allowed to visit him there. We know that the trial takes place during the summer—this is obvious from references to "summer flowers," the heat, and the fact that the children are out of school while the trial is going on. Scout remembers that "August was on the brink of September" at the beginning of chapter 24, when it is revealed that Tom was killed trying to escape from the prison. So it must have been a month or so at the most between the trial and Tom's death. He was killed while Atticus was still trying to determine the best course of action for his appeal. Apparently his trial convinced Tom that his best chance of freedom lay not in the courts but in fleeing.