That photo was 100 percent staged for a People magazine shoot. And those are not the bars of a jail cell.
You see, by this point in the 1970s, Carter was (paradoxically) staying in the Clinton Correctional Facility For Women, which wasn’t the maximum security gulag People magazine wanted. In fact, Dylan had just finished playing a concert there for the inmates (along with Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez) before the photo was taken, where he had performed “Hurricane” for one of the last times he ever would.
Mark Steyn wrote:
Though the movie ends on the courthouse steps, in real life Hurricane returned with his new friends to live in their commune, only to discover that the Trenton state prison was comparatively relaxed compared to the Toronto suburbs. Alcohol was banned, and so were cigarettes, and, when the others suspected him of smuggling in the odd pack of smokes, they started frisking him — which the Jersey warders had never done. Trapped in a prison of Canadian niceness, Hurricane began pining for the amiable regime of the old jailhouse where all you had to worry about was dropping the soap.
As Kathy Shaidle puts it in her own farewell to Rubin Carter, “that white liberal hippie do-gooder commune was just another type of prison.”