Monday, July 14, 2008

Michigan: Fugitive Mom to Help Inmates

Here is a editorial from the Detroit Free Press regarding fugitive-recently-turned-captive-mom Susan LeFevre. Doesn't seem to be much of anything new related to the story that PardonPower has covered in previous posts (here, here, and here). But, along the way, are these thoughts:

... Her arrest made national and international news. Web sites, such as, popped up to defend her. Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said the governor's office has received several hundred requests for LeFevre's freedom.

All this attention makes LeFevre uneasy, but she hopes it will make a difference. After her release, LeFevre plans to start a Web site and foundation that will advocate for inmates. She's also writing a book, the proceeds of which would go to her foundation.

"I know some people need to be in prison," she said. "I have three children. Naturally, I want killers and predators here. But there are many people here who are no threat to anyone -- women who were just there when the crime was committed, drug offenders, nonviolent people.

"Prisons have become big business. The war on drugs has created mass incarceration and, after 30 years, what has it gotten us? You can still get drugs anywhere."

LeFevre won't be eligible for parole until 2013. But her attorney, Barbara Klimaszewski of Saginaw, told me she will file a motion today in Saginaw County Circuit Court, asking a judge to vacate LeFevre's 1975 sentence. Granholm could also commute the sentence. Either way, there's no good reason for taxpayers to spend nearly $35,000 a year to keep LeFevre locked up.

... LeFevre's case is hardly the worst injustice in Michigan, but, as an upper-middle-class white woman, she has drawn more support than any other inmate I've featured in my years of writing about the prison system. Now she wants to use her notoriety to open the minds of other middle class people who are likely to see a prison only from a nearby highway.

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