After spending 16 years incarcerated in federal prisons, Gwen Levi was finally home.
Released to home confinement last June, Ms. Levi spent the past year reconnecting with her sons and grandsons, helping to take care of her elderly mother, volunteering at advocacy organizations that provide critical services for incarcerated people, and perhaps most crucially – increasing her chances of staying safe from COVID-19 as a 76-year-old cancer survivor.
But one year after her release, Ms. Levi was sent back to prison.
Why? Because she missed a phone call from her case manager while she was in a class to learn computer skills in order to get a job as an essential worker.
Ms. Levi was one of thousands of people, deemed “low risk”, and released from federal prison to finish their sentences on home confinement last year due to the increased threat of the pandemic in prisons. The vast majority of those released were elderly and living with preexisting health conditions, often exacerbated by the lack of healthcare within the prison system.
But even despite the 99.9% success rate of home confinement, the Trump Administration used its final days to issue a legal memo that would not only force people to return to federal prison, but also require people to pay their own way back.
We tried to move the Department of Justice to rescind the memo, but were met with silence. Now Ms. Levi is back in a cage.
Now is the time to call on President Biden to use his powers of clemency to release Ms. Levi from prison and protect 4,500 others just like her who are at risk of being sent back when the pandemic is declared over.
It’s clear that this is about punishment, not public safety or rehabilitation. Ms. Levi was trying to better herself and as a result was sent to live in a cage.
If the Biden Administration won’t grant clemency to Ms. Levi and keep 4,500 people at home – he will be presiding over the fastest expansion of the federal prison population in history.
This is not what we voted for.
Ms. Levi deserves better, and she needs our support.
Add your name to the call for justice. Let’s move President Biden to grant clemency for Ms. Levi and 4,500 others on home confinement.