Yesterday, Susan LeFevre, a former Michigan prisoner turned escapee was released from prison. In 1976 after serving 14 months of a of a 10-year prison sentence involving heroin (I’m pretty sure it was dealing heroin, but I’m not sure), she climbed a fence and escaped from Huron Valley Prison (south of Ann Arbor). She then fled to California, where she met Alan Walsh, whom she married and had 3 children with. Walsh never knew about her past until she was caught and brought back to Michigan last year. When she went before a Wayne County judge, she said that escaping was a “terrible thing to do,” but she did it because she was only 21 at the time and was frightened by prison and other inmates.
In January, the Michigan Parole Board voted to release her from her sentence for the drug conviction, due to the fact that even though she had been living under an alias, she hadn’t committed any crimes after her escape (at least not that we know of). The board decided to make her wait until Tuesday to be released because of misconduct in prison; however, her record has been spotless since January. A judge has placed her on probation until May 2013, so she can’t drink alcohol, possess firearms, or associate with felons until then.
As she left, she held a press conference where she told reporters that prison is a “very tragic, hard place.” She said that she relied on her family to get through the past year, saying, “It was just the most heartwarming experience — especially, I suppose, because I felt like it was so tragic for me, for sometimes thinking that I was facing many years locked in a prison.” She spoke of her husband, as he stood by her side, saying, “If he can stick through a wife who comes up with these surprises, anybody can stay with a marriage.”
At the press conference, she went on to say, “I just felt that with that many people praying for me, this was going to end up good, and it has,” LeFevre said. “I’m back with my family and very anxious to resume my life and go back to being Marie. … I’m just delighted this nightmare is over. It’s been very traumatic. I didn’t think I’d make it at times. I’m just a very lucky person.”
Personally, I think what happened yesterday was a travesty for the American justice system. On the one hadn, I would feel bad forcing her to be separated from her family in order to serve the rest of her sentence, but on the other hand, what does this say to other prisoners? Escape and be good and you can get off basically free.
My entire family disagrees with me on this one, but I just cannot justify letting her go. When you commit a crime, you need to pay the consequences, and I think the parole board let their emotions get in the way here.
Just because she never got caught doing anything illegal doesn’t mean that she didn’t do anything illegal. And even if she had a 100% perfect life and never even ran a stop sign after escaping from prison, she still needs to be kept in prison to finish out her sentence. Where do we draw the line here? If a murderer escapes but is good for the rest of his life should he have to go back to jail? Most people would say yes, so what makes her different? Just because she has a family doesn’t mean she should be treated differently.
A local TV station did a poll last night and 47% agreed with me, while 53% said she should go free, so I’m curious what you think. Should she go free, or should shes serve out the rest of her sentence?
Tags: Susan LeFevre