Should This Woman Be Sent Back to Prison?

She was a fugitive, yes. But for almost two thirds of her life, she’d also been a law-abiding soccer mom. What should the authorities do? You be the judge.

By Vicki Glembokci
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine April 2009

Woman in handcuffsWaveBreak Media/Thinkstock

The Verdict:

Five months after Susan LeFevre’s rearrest, a judge showed mercy, giving her two years’ probation for the escape charge. That still left the issue of the original sentence. Should LeFevre remain in prison for the drug offense? The judge punted the decision to the ten-member Michigan parole board.

On January 28, the board voted unanimously to set her free, though she has to stay behind bars on good behavior until May 19. “She effectively did what we want our offenders to do—live a crime-free life once they leave us,” says John Cordell of the Michigan Department of Corrections. “Of course, she did commit a crime in order to live that crime-free life.”

You be the judge!

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  • Your Comments

    • Anonymous

      The question becomes: why shouldn’t she be forced to serve her sentence? Just because she escaped and got a new identity?

    • jhg6

      First of all, I think all drugs should be legal, and no one should go to prison for drugs. But, since they are illegal, and she was sentenced to prison according to the law, she should serve her full sentence.
      I don’t think any criminals should be let out of prison early for any reason, ever. In California, it seems that they are letting tons of criminals out of prison willy nilly, just because they say the prisons are crowded. Who cares? Keep them there until their sentence is up. And hurry up and execute the ones on death row. That should be done within days or weeks of them being on death row, not years.

    • A. Rogers

      This case should be less about the women who commit the crime but the 10 – 20 years prison sentence for a non-violent, drug charge. Our country has limited resources and they would be better used in areas like education that has been proven to reduce the risk that a teenager will turn to drugs if engaged in high school with a goal towards to college. At the most, the sentence should have been 36 months with 35 months suspended and court-ordered rehab. After spending a month in prison (not a local jail), a first time offender who has a family and gets clean in rehab is less to be a repeat offender. If this person broke the law during the time of the suspended sentence. s/he would serve that time plus the time for the second offend. In my opinion, that is reasonable system. Using my tax dollars to incarcerate a non-violent first drug offend for 10 – 20 years, it a waste of my money. I want to stop.

    • bsladybug

      Agree with Shanna. Excessive sentences don’t help rehabilitate people. This woman had served a year already. The escape needed to be addressed. The woman should have found a legal way to get her sentence reduced. So probation for the escape offense seems mild, yet appropriate when her behavior during those intervening years is taken into consideration.
      And sorry, Adman, I don’t think she is a closet dealer.

    • Shanna

      10-20 years for a first time drug offense does seem excessive. Maybe we should be looking at who else is in jail for completely unreasonable sentences instead of arguing that we are being too lenient for letting this woman off for time served and parole.

    • AdMan

      Sets a bad precedent. Like it says in the article itself, what does this say? You escape and you don’t have to serve your sentence? And agree with Chris; doesn’t look to me like she has led a ‘crime-free’ life. She has done what(ever) it takes to survive. And for what it’s worth, who can say she hasn’t gone back to dealing? She just hasn’t got caught (again) yet.

    • GG

      If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. She pled guilty, so even though she hadn’t been in trouble since her escape, she should have been made to finish her prison term, and do whatever the punishment is for escape.

    • dannicalliope

      I say “let her go.” She’s done a better job at living a quiet life than most people who serve their full term. She’s no danger to society.

    • Chris

      She should have served the sentence.
      1. She plead guilty on a gamble, it didn’t work out, too bad. You knew the chances going in.

      2. You committed a felony by escaping
      3. You committed social security fraud and identity theft by using someone else’s SSN

      4. You committed a misdemeanor by lying to a police officer
      5. You lied to your husband, family, and friends about who you were and where you came from

      This doesn’t sound like a rehabilitated person but one who is willing to do anything to survive. If that means running from the cops, multiple accounts of fraud, lying to practically everyone around you, then they will (and did). This is not someone I want on the streets.

      • Sultry_Clue

        Yes. Let’s lock her up, and while we’re at it, we can let out, oh, a sex offender and pedophile so he can lure another innocent kid to her death hours after his release. It has happened before.
        I know it’s never black and white. But this lady does not need to join others that clog up prisons and don’t really need to be there. She sold that little bit of heroin to a cop at the age of 19? Puh-leese. This is ridiculous. She did nothing to harm you or anyone else. She does not belong in prison, simple as that.