T Nation

Prison, Bitch!

http://www.mlive.com/saginawnews/news/index.ssf/2008/05/former_michigan_prison_escapee.html
[i]
Former Michigan prison escapee Susan Marie LeFevre hopes for mercy after 32 years on the lam
by Allison Hoffman | The Associated Press
Thursday May 01, 2008, 7:25 AM

SANTEE, Calif. – Marie Walsh kept a low profile for 32 years, trying to escape her past life as Susan LeFevre.
Michigan Department of Corrections photo, 1975

The Thomas Township native raised three children with her husband of 23 years, Alan, who never knew she was using an assumed identity. Authorities wanted her for escaping from a Detroit prison a year into a maximum 20-year sentence on heroin charges.
Courtesy | Walsh family via APSusan LeFevre, now known as Marie Walsh

Now, LeFevre, 53, is in jail awaiting extradition from California to Michigan on an escape warrant. Authorities say she likely faces years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

She was arrested April 24 outside her home in San Diego’s posh Carmel Valley area, wearing a sweat suit and driving a black Lexus SUV. Authorities say an anonymous caller who tipped Michigan authorities blew her cover.

“It’s been a secret no one knew for so long, and now everyone knows,” LeFevre said from Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee, a San Diego suburb. “I hope there’s some mercy.”

LeFevre, who grew up the second of five children, was 19 when police arrested her during an undercover drug operation in Thomas Township in 1974. She said she got into drugs after high school because she was despondent over the death of her teenage sweetheart in the Vietnam War.

Her parents, strict Catholics who took away her John Lennon albums and prohibited their daughter from wearing faded blue jeans, encouraged her to plead guilty to spare the family the embarrassment of a court trial, she said. LeFevre said she agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violation of drug laws in hopes of winning leniency, but received the maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years.

“I kept thinking it had to be a mistake. I was supposed to have probation,” LeFevre said.
READ MORE
�?� RELATED STORY: Differing tales emerge about Susan LeFevre, 32-year prison escapee and suburban California mother
�?� SIDEBAR: Corrections official: Michigan escapee Susan LeFevre could serve 5-plus years
�?� RELATED STORY: Thomas Township woman nabbed after spending 32 years as a fugitive
She said that while she had used drugs, she had never sold them. Steve Jurman, the U.S. Marshals Service officer who arrested LeFevre, said, "She told me, ‘It was the 1970s. Everybody was doing heroin. It’s not like it is today.’ "

LeFevre said other inmates threatened her at the Detroit House of Corrections, now known as Robert Scott Correctional Facility. One night, she decided she had to leave.
Lenny Ignelzi | Associated PressSusan Marie Lefevre, now known as Marie Walsh, sits alone in the prisoners- visitors area at the Las Colinas Detention Facility Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in Santee, Calif.

Her grandfather and another relative agreed to meet her, and in February 1976 LeFevre walked across an open yard, threw her jacket over a barbed wire fence and climbed over, then started running.

“They had helicopters looking for me. … You don’t think about fear, you don’t have time. You just run,” she said.

When she got to the car, her relative was saying a rosary for her. A few weeks later, friends let her ride with them to California, where she changed her name to Marie, her middle name.

LeFevre said only a few people knew her secret. She said she told a fiance, who broke their engagement. She kept it secret when she married her husband of 23 years, Alan Walsh.

“We’re still just getting over this, but it’s been a tremendous shock to us,” Alan Walsh said.

He described his wife as a woman of “the highest integrity and compassion.”

A brother said he periodically heard rumors that she was living in California.

“There was always a big question as to where she was, but then this happened,” said David LeFevre of Cass City. “Well, it surprises you after all these years.”

Jurman said the fugitive established her new life with a Social Security number belonging to someone who died in 1981, a number she said she made up. She obtained a California driver’s license using a false date of birth but didn’t risk renewing it after it expired in 1999.
Lenny Ignelzi | Associated PressSusan Marie Lefevre, now known as Marie Walsh is handcuffed before returning to her cell at the Las Colinas Detention Facility Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in Santee, Calif.
“Obviously, she had done a good job of obtaining and maintaining a new identity and could have gone another 10 years undiscovered if it hadn’t been for this tip,” said Jurman. “She was extremely comfortable with her new identity. It wasn’t like she was actively trying to hide or anything.”

Jurman said LeFevre initially denied her identity but admitted it once he told her she could face additional charges for lying to a federal agent. She told him her husband and children knew nothing of her past.

“Can you imagine? You think you know everything about your spouse,” Jurman said. "She immediately broke down and said, ‘I was a child; I don’t know why I got involved in this.’ "

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections disputed Lefevre’s version of her arrest and conviction. Spokesman Russ Marlan said records show that she was acquainted with several large-scale drug dealers, had drug paraphernalia in her home in Thomas Township and was making money as a dealer.

She probably will have to serve between five and nine years in prison before she is eligible for parole, Marlan said.

“She has a prison sentence to fulfill,” Marlan said. “We can’t, even if we wanted to, negate that prison sentence. What kind of message would that send to 50,000 other prisoners in Michigan? If you escape and live clean, you can have your sentence dropped if you’re caught?”

Alan Walsh said he will support his wife.

“Our family is threatened to be destroyed by something that happened to her as a 19-year-old teenager 34 years ago in Michigan,” he said.[/i]


Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place?  I hate conspiracy theories but how else could one explain this ridiculousness other than influence by the prison-industrial complex?

We have 300 million people living in this country and nearly 2 million people locked in prison.  How many of those people should really be there?

[quote]Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place? I hate conspiracy theories but how else could one explain this ridiculousness other than influence by the prison-industrial complex?

We have 300 million people living in this country and nearly 2 million people locked in prison. How many of those people should really be there?[/quote]

I dunno. Doesn’t make sense to me. I could care less if people want to do drugs as long as I don’t have to pay any of their medical bills.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place? I hate conspiracy theories but how else could one explain this ridiculousness other than influence by the prison-industrial complex?

We have 300 million people living in this country and nearly 2 million people locked in prison. How many of those people should really be there?

I dunno. Doesn’t make sense to me. I could care less if people want to do drugs as long as I don’t have to pay any of their medical bills. [/quote]

Then I hope the 20 years times 25000$ a year are equally enraging.

On top of it, while she is in jail, you pay all her medical bills.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
I dunno. Doesn’t make sense to me. I could care less if people want to do drugs as long as I don’t have to pay any of their medical bills. [/quote]

Instead you get to pay to house them for their “crime”.

How on earth can u give a 19 year old 20 years for a drug beef?? Thats just sick.

If a 19 year old in europe MURDERS someone hes usually out of prison in about 7 years.

[center]Prison Nation

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.[/center]

Americans, perhaps like all people, have a remarkable capacity for tuning out unpleasantries that do not directly affect them. I’m thinking here of wars on foreign lands, but also the astonishing fact that the United States has become the world’s most jail-loving country, with well over 1 in 100 adults living as slaves in a prison. Building and managing prisons, and locking people up, have become major facets of government power in our time, and it is long past time for those who love liberty to start to care.

Before we get to the reasons why, look at the facts as reported by the New York Times. The U.S. leads the world in prisoner production. There are 2.3 million people behind bars. China, with four times as many people, has 1.6 million in prison. In terms of population, the US has 751 people in prison for every 100,000, while the closest competitor in this regard is Russia with 627. I’m struck by this figure: 531 in Cuba. The median global rate is 125.

What’s amazing is that most of this imprisoning trend is recent, dating really from the 1980s, and most of the change is due to drug laws. From 1925 to 1975, the rate of imprisonment was stable at 110, lower than the international average, which is what you might expect in a country that purports to value freedom. But then it suddenly shot up in the 1980s. There were 30,000 people in jail for drugs in 1980, while today there are half a million.

Other factors include the criminalization of nearly everything these days, even passing bad checks or the pettiest of thefts. And judges are under all sorts of minimum sentencing requirements. Now, before we move to causes and answers, please consider what jail means. The people inside are slaves of the state. They are captured and held and regarded by their captors as nothing other than biological beings that take up space. The delivery of all services to them is contingent on the whims of their masters, who have no stake in the outcome at all.

Now, you might say that this is necessary for some people, but be aware that it is the ultimate assault on human dignity. They are “paying the price” for their actions, but no one is in a position to benefit from the price paid. They aren’t working off debts or compensating victims or struggling to overcome anything. They are just “doing time,” costing taxpayers almost $25,000 a year per person. That’s all these people are to society: a cost, and they are treated as such.

And the communities in which they exist in these prisons consist of other un-valued people, and they become socialized into this mentality that is utterly contrary to every notion of civilization. Then there are the relentless threat and reality of violence, the unspeakable noise, the pervasiveness of every moral perversity. In short, prisons are Hell. It can be no wonder that they rehabilitate no one. As George Barnard Shaw said, “imprisonment is as irrevocable as death.”

What’s more, everything we know about government applies to this ultimate government program. It is expensive (states alone spend $44 billion on prisons every year), inefficient, brutal, and irrational. The modern prison system is also a relatively new phenomenon in history, one that is used to enforce political priorities (the drug war) rather than punish real crimes. It is also manipulated by political passions rather than a genuine concern for justice. The results of the drug war are not to reduce consumption but rather the opposite. Illegal drugs are now a $100 billion dollar industry in the US, while the drug war itself costs taxpayers $19 billion, even as the costs of running the justice system are skyrocketing (up 418% percent in 25 years).

People say that crime is down, so this must be working. Well, that depends on what you mean by crime. Drug use and distribution are associated with violence solely because they are illegal. They are crimes because the state says they are crimes, but they do not fit within the usual definition we find in the history of political philosophy, which centers on the violation of person or property. What’s more, the “crime” of drug use and distribution hasn’t really been kept down; it has only gone further underground. It’s a major irony and commentary on the workability of prisons that drug markets are very active there.

Now to causes. Some social scientists give the predictable explanation that all this is due to the lack of a “social safety net” in the U.S. In the first place, the U.S. has had such a net for a hundred years, and yet these people seem not to have noticed, even though no such net is big enough for some people. Moreover, it is more likely the very presence of such a net �?? which creates a moral hazard so that people do not learn to be responsible for their own well-being �?? that contributes to criminal behavior (all else being equal).

There are those on all sides who attribute the increase to racial factors, given that the imprisoned population is disproportionately black and Hispanic, and noting the disparity in crime rates in such places as Minnesota with low levels of minority populations. But this factor too could be illusory, especially as regards drug use, since it is far more likely that a state system will catch and punish people with less influence and social standing than those whom the state regards as significant.

A more telling point comes to us from political analysts, who observe the politicization of judicial appointments in the United States. Judges run on their “tough on crime” records, or are appointed for them, and so have every incentive to lock people up more than justice truly demands.

One factor that hasn’t been mentioned so far in the discussion is the lobbying power of the prison industry itself. The old rule is that if you subsidize something, you get more of it. And so it is with prisons and the prison-industrial complex. I’ve yet to find any viable figures on how large this industry is, but consider that it includes construction firms, managers of private prisons, wardens, food service providers, counselors, security services, and a hundred other kinds of companies to build and manage these miniature societies. What kind of political influence do they have? Speculation here, but it must be substantial.

As for public concern, remember that every law on the books, every regulation, every line in the government codebook, is ultimately enforced by prison. The jail cell is the symbol and ultimate end of statism itself. It would be nice if we thought of the interests of the prisoners in society and those that will become so. But even if you are not likely to be among them, consider the loss of privacy, the loss of liberty, the loss of independence, the loss of all that used to be considered truly American, in the course of the building of prison nation.

But won’t crime go up if we abandon our prison system? Let Robert Ingersoll answer: “The world has been filled with prisons and dungeons, with chains and whips, with crosses and gibbets, with thumb-screws and racks, with hangmen and headsmen �?? and yet these frightful means and instrumentalities and crimes have accomplished little for the preservation of property or life. It is safe to say that governments have committed far more crimes than they have prevented. As long as society bows and cringes before the great thieves, there will be little ones enough to fill the jails.”

Though many americans(Republicans) seem to believe it, hefty sentences and the death penalty of course do shit to prevent crime.

Vote McCain!

[quote]Ken Kaniff wrote:
Though many americans(Republicans) seem to believe it, hefty sentences and the death penalty of course do shit to prevent crime. [/quote]

Yeah, I’m all for that. But what are we defining as “crimes”? I’m even in favor of the death penalty for murder. I don’t agree with locking up non-violent offenders over minutiae, especially considering I have to then pay their bills.

She should walk. The drug laws in this country are a badge of shame.
She should have left the country.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
…~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place?

[/quote]

Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

This particular case is ridiculous. I cannot explain. There are plenty of violent criminals released early from prison so I would not blame the PIC. Mandatory sentencing plays a big role.

[quote]
We have 300 million people living in this country and nearly 2 million people locked in prison. How many of those people should really be there?[/quote]

Many shouldn’t be there but should be punished by other means. At the same time we release many (violent) offenders that should never see the light of day.

Reforms are needed. Sentencing laws should be changed. Unfortunately we have tons of crappy judges that made sentencing laws necessary in the first place.

No simple solution other than having wise men on the bench.

[quote]Ken Kaniff wrote:
Though many americans(Republicans) seem to believe it, hefty sentences and the death penalty of course do shit to prevent crime. [/quote]

Wrong. Locking up real criminals prevents crime.

One problem in this country is the drug laws. there are better ways to handle the problems of drug addiction. Prison should be a last resort (ha ha).

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.[/quote]

More drunk people crash into schoolbuses.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
…~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place?

Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.
[/quote]
The statistics don’t figure favorably for this argument. For every one person that might do this there are thousands that don’t

Mandatory sentencing should be done away with. The punishment should fit the “crime”.

There does not need to be separate laws for every particular crime. Protecting life and property should be the only requirement. There is a very fine line between protection and prevention. The government’s role is not to prevent, per se.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

More drunk people crash into schoolbuses.[/quote]

We lock up people for that too. Our drunk driving laws have gotten so ludicrous I am afraid to drink 2 beers and drive home.

[quote]pat wrote:
She should walk. The drug laws in this country are a badge of shame.
She should have left the country.[/quote]

I agree with this. Did someone die because of something she did?

What good is this doing her or the rest if us at this point? I could see if she murdered someone…but why the overkill on drug abuse in this country?

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
…~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place?

Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

The statistics don’t figure favorably for this argument. For every one person that might do this there are thousands that don’t

[/quote]

Agreed. These things have snowballed out of control.

I agree but poor judges should also be promptly removed from the bench and then there would be no need for mandatory sentencing.

[quote]

Many shouldn’t be there but should be punished by other means. At the same time we release many (violent) offenders that should never see the light of day.

There does not need to be separate laws for every particular crime. Protecting life and property should be the only requirement. There is a very fine line between protection and prevention. The government’s role is not to prevent, per se.[/quote]

Without laws who would define the crime? Is tampering with drugs a crime or is it a case of buyer beware?

The world is far more complex than you pretend it is.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

More drunk people crash into schoolbuses.

We lock up people for that too. [/quote]

That’s not the point. The war on drugs is about possession and distribution, not crimes committed high.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
…~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are non-violent offenders thrown into prison in the first place?

Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

The statistics don’t figure favorably for this argument. For every one person that might do this there are thousands that don’t

Agreed. These things have snowballed out of control.

Mandatory sentencing plays a big role.

Mandatory sentencing should be done away with. The punishment should fit the “crime”.

I agree but poor judges should also be promptly removed from the bench and then there would be no need for mandatory sentencing.

Many shouldn’t be there but should be punished by other means. At the same time we release many (violent) offenders that should never see the light of day.

There does not need to be separate laws for every particular crime. Protecting life and property should be the only requirement. There is a very fine line between protection and prevention. The government’s role is not to prevent, per se.

Without laws who would define the crime? Is tampering with drugs a crime or is it a case of buyer beware?

The world is far more complex than you pretend it is.[/quote]

Did you guys see Mark Steyn’s series on Conrad Black? Horrifying.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Because some asshole get drugged up and crashes into a schoolbus or OD’s and people react and things snowball.

More drunk people crash into schoolbuses.

We lock up people for that too.

That’s not the point. The war on drugs is about possession and distribution, not crimes committed high.[/quote]

It is all about crimes committed high and trying to prevent addiction. That is the root of drug bans.