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      gmail-mb-xs"><font size="-2"><a
          href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/"
          class="gmail-font-bold gmail-link gmail-black
          gmail-hover-blue" moz-do-not-send="true">https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/inmates-pandemic-biden-trump-policy/2021/06/25/e89aa28e-d376-11eb-baed-4abcfa380a17_story.html</a></font></div>
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                  <h1 class="gmail-font--headline gmail-gray-darkest
                    gmail-pb-sm gmail-null" id="gmail-main-content"><span>A
                      grandmother didn’t answer her phone during a
                      class. She was sent back to prison.</span></h1>
                  <div><img
                      src="cid:part2.8B4836EC.607ACE88@freedomarchives.org"
                      alt="Gwen Levi.webp" class="" width="500"
                      height="378"><br>
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                  gmail-flex-ns-row gmail-justify-between-ns">
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                            gmail-items-center"><span class="gmail-">
                              <div class="gmail-display-date
                                gmail-gray-dark"><span
                                  class="gmail-gray-darkest">By</span><a
                                  class="gmail-gray-darkest gmail-b
                                  gmail-bb gmail-bc-gray gmail-bt-hover"
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/justin-moyer/"
                                  moz-do-not-send="true"> Justin Wm.
                                  Moyer</a><span class="gmail-"><span
                                    class="gmail-font-xxxs
                                    gmail-gray-darkest
                                    gmail-font-xxs-ns"> and<span> </span></span></span><a
                                  class="gmail-gray-darkest gmail-b
                                  gmail-bb gmail-bc-gray gmail-bt-hover"
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/neena-satija/"
                                  moz-do-not-send="true">Neena Satija -</a><span
                                  class="gmail-"><span
                                    class="gmail-font-xxxs
                                    gmail-gray-darkest
                                    gmail-font-xxs-ns"><span></span></span></span>
                                June 26, 2021<br>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">In
                        the year she was out of prison, Gwen Levi, 76,
                        was thriving.</p>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">After
                        serving 16 years in different federal facilities
                        for dealing heroin, Levi was allowed to leave
                        last June and finish her 24-year sentence in
                        home confinement under the supervision of
                        federal prison officials. She moved in with her
                        94-year-old mother in Baltimore and volunteered
                        at prisoner advocacy organizations, hoping for a
                        paying job to come along. She was also building
                        her relationships with her sons and grandsons.</p>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">But
                        Levi’s season on the outside ended June 12 after
                        she attended a computer word-processing class in
                        Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. A Federal Bureau of
                        Prisons incident report said she was out of
                        contact for a few hours with the officials
                        supervising her.</p>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Levi
                        is now at the D.C. jail awaiting transfer to a
                        federal facility, according to her attorney,
                        Sapna Mirchandani, of Maryland’s Office of the
                        Federal Public Defender.</p>
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                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“There’s
                        no question she was in class,” Mirchandani said.
                        “As I was told, because she could have been
                        robbing a bank, they’re going to treat her as if
                        she was robbing a bank.”</p>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Levi
                        is one of about 4,500 federal prisoners sent to
                        home confinement last year to protect them from
                        contracting the <a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/coronavirus/?itid=lk_inline_manual_9"
                          target="_blank" class="gmail-contextual_link"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">coronavirus</a>.
                        Advocates celebrated the move by the Trump
                        administration and expected that President Biden
                        would continue to keep former inmates home even
                        after the pandemic receded.</p>
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                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">But
                        while Biden has taken steps supported by <a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-drugs-sentencing-cocaine/2021/06/21/cd0c5e26-d2dc-11eb-ae54-515e2f63d37d_story.html?itid=lk_inline_manual_10"
                          target="_self" moz-do-not-send="true">criminal
                          justice advocates</a>, the White House has
                        appeared to follow President Donald Trump’s lead
                        with respect to a Justice Department memo
                        calling for nearly all people to return to
                        prison when the public health emergency ends.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <p><span class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-hide-for-print gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md
                        gmail-db gmail-italic gmail-interstitial"><a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/federal-prisoners-pandemic/2021/04/21/5d4cc3c8-96fa-11eb-8e42-3906c09073f9_story.html?tid=ss_tw&itid=lk_interstitial_manual_11"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">Inmates sent home amid
                          pandemic may have to return under Trump-era
                          policy</a></span></p>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">The
                        administration hasn’t weighed in on <a
                          href="https://www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355886/download"
                          target="_self" moz-do-not-send="true">the
                          binding Justice Department memo</a>, issued in
                        the final days of Trump’s presidency. The White
                        House and Justice Department wouldn’t comment
                        when asked by The Washington Post about the
                        return of inmates to prison on seemingly minor
                        violations.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Kristie
                        A. Breshears, spokeswoman for the Bureau of
                        Prisons, said in an email that the agency cannot
                        discuss individual cases. However, sanctions
                        “are not imposed in a capricious or retaliatory
                        manner,” she said, and bureau staff “are the
                        determining factor when making determinations
                        regarding transferring an inmate back to secure
                        custody.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Breshears
                        added that the Bureau of Prisons could decide to
                        allow inmates near the end of their sentences to
                        stay on home confinement after the pandemic.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“For
                        the more difficult cases, where inmates still
                        have years left to serve, this will be an issue
                        only after the pandemic is over,” she said. “The
                        president recently extended the national
                        emergency and the Department of Health and Human
                        Services has said the public health crisis is
                        likely to last for the rest of the year.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <p><span class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-hide-for-print gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md
                        gmail-db gmail-italic gmail-interstitial"><a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-drugs-sentencing-cocaine/2021/06/21/cd0c5e26-d2dc-11eb-ae54-515e2f63d37d_story.html?tid=ss_tw&itid=lk_interstitial_manual_18"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">Biden administration
                          endorses bill to end disparity in drug
                          sentencing between crack and powder cocaine</a></span></p>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">According
                        to Levi’s Bureau of Prisons incident report, the
                        officials supervising her were alerted by her
                        ankle monitor at 10:51 a.m. that she was not
                        home. She did not answer calls to her phone for
                        the next few hours. By 1:17 p.m., the ankle
                        monitor showed she was back at her approved
                        address. The report noted the incident as an
                        “escape.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">In a
                        statement released by Mirchandani, Levi said she
                        was “devastated.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“I
                        feel like I was attempting to do all the right
                        things,” Levi said. “Breaking rules is not who I
                        am. I tried to explain what happened, and to
                        tell the truth. At no time did I think I wasn’t
                        supposed to go to that class. I apologize to my
                        mother and my family for what this is doing to
                        them.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <p><span class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-hide-for-print gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md
                        gmail-db gmail-italic gmail-interstitial"><a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-crime/2021/06/21/5d1ce8f0-d2b0-11eb-a53a-3b5450fdca7a_story.html?tid=ss_tw&itid=lk_interstitial_manual_24"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">Biden launches an
                          effort to head off violent crime — and
                          political peril for his party</a></span></p>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Other
                        prisoners released to home confinement during
                        the pandemic also are being sent back.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Lynn
                        Espejo was sentenced to 45 months for filing
                        false tax returns, wire fraud and money
                        laundering in the Eastern District of Arkansas <a
href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-edar/pr/sherwood-woman-sentenced-45-months-prison-wire-fraud-money-laundering-and-tax-fraud"
                          target="_self" moz-do-not-send="true">in 2017</a>.
                        In an interview, she said she was released in
                        May last year, got a job at her church and
                        re-enrolled in graduate school, where she was
                        completing a master’s degree in clinical and
                        mental health counseling. She also writes <a
                          href="https://insidethewallscom.wordpress.com/"
                          target="_self" moz-do-not-send="true">a blog</a>
                        focused on inmates’ rights and hosts a radio
                        show</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">On
                        Jan. 12, according to Bureau of Prisons
                        documents, Espejo was written up for emailing
                        inmates — “[v]iolating a condition of a
                        community program” by “communicating with
                        inmates currently incarcerated in numerous
                        Federal Prisons,” according to the incident
                        report. She was reincarcerated Jan. 12 and
                        released Jan. 27 after a judge allowed her to be
                        returned home because of health issues.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Espejo,
                        who has since completed her degree, said she
                        believes she was sent back to prison as
                        retaliation for her activism. About 153,000
                        inmates are in the custody of the bureau, a
                        20-year low.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“You
                        cannot hold someone's freedom of speech over
                        their head on home confinement,” she said.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Breshears
                        said she could not comment on an individual
                        inmate’s conditions of confinement.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <p><span class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-hide-for-print gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md
                        gmail-db gmail-italic gmail-interstitial"><a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/frail-inmates-could-be-sent-home-to-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19-instead-some-are-dying-in-federal-prisons/2020/08/02/992fd484-b636-11ea-9b0f-c797548c1154_story.html?tid=ss_tw&itid=lk_interstitial_manual_34"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">Frail inmates could be
                          sent home to prevent the spread of covid-19.
                          Instead, some are dying in federal prisons.</a></span></p>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Kevin
                        Ring, president of nonprofit prisoner advocacy
                        organization Families Against Mandatory
                        Minimums, said returning people on home
                        confinement to prison for minor violations is
                        “counter to human nature.” The Biden
                        administration should say whether it will
                        rescind the Trump administration memo, he said.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“This
                        is exactly what we feared from them delaying
                        resolution of this issue,” he said. “Every day
                        is torture. They’re worried about going back to
                        prison. . . . Waiting is the hardest part.”</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">Mark
                        Osler, a former federal prosecutor and professor
                        of law at the University of St. Thomas in
                        Minneapolis, said that if the Justice Department
                        won’t rescind the memo, the Biden administration
                        could use another legal tool: clemency. Osler
                        said he has spoken to administration officials
                        about that possibility.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">But
                        such grants could prove controversial as Biden
                        announces measures <a
href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-crime/2021/06/21/5d1ce8f0-d2b0-11eb-a53a-3b5450fdca7a_story.html?itid=lk_inline_manual_40"
                          target="_self" moz-do-not-send="true">to
                          combat violent crime</a> amid an increase in
                        violence<b> </b>across the country.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">The
                        transfer of prisoners to home confinement during
                        the pandemic has proved to be safe, Osler said.
                        At a Senate Judiciary Committee <a
href="https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/04/08/2021/oversight-of-the-federal-bureau-of-prisons"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">hearing in April</a>,
                        Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal said
                        three inmates transferred to home confinement
                        have been arrested on new charges.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“The
                        facade of their incarceration in the interest of
                        public safety has been knocked over,” Osler
                        said.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">As
                        national leaders debate criminal justice, Levi
                        is back behind bars. Her son Craig Levi said it
                        was a blessing to have his mother home. Now,
                        she’s gone.</p>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                  <div>
                    <div>
                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
                        gmail-gray-darkest gmail-ma-0 gmail-pb-md">“We
                        don’t understand how it escalated,” he said.
                        “It’s unjustified — the stress that they put on
                        the family.”</p>
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                      <p class="gmail-font--body gmail-font-copy
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                        gmail-bold">
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                        gmail-bold">
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                  <div class="gmail-mb-xxs gmail-flex gmail-mb-sm">
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                        gmail-duration-400 ease-in-out gmail-o-100"><br>
                      </div>
                    </div>
                    <span class="gmail-">
                      <div class="gmail-flex">
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                            class="gmail-gray-darkest">By </span><a
                            class="gmail-gray-darkest gmail-b gmail-bb
                            gmail-bc-gray gmail-bt-hover"
                            href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/justin-moyer/"
                            moz-do-not-send="true">Justin Wm. Moyer</a></div>
                      </div>
                      <span class="gmail-font-xxxs gmail-gray-dark
                        gmail-author-description gmail-lh-md">Justin Wm.
                        Moyer is a breaking news reporter for The
                        Washington Post. After a long stint as a
                        contributing writer at the Washington City
                        Paper, he came to The Post in 2008, becoming an
                        editor in Outlook and for the Morning Mix, The
                        Post's overnight team. He became a reporter in
                        2015.</span> <a class="gmail-font-xxxs
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                      moz-do-not-send="true"> <span class="gmail-dib
                        gmail-b gmail-bb gmail-bc-gray">Twitter</span></a></span></div>
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                    <div class="gmail-transition-opacity
                      gmail-duration-400 ease-in-out gmail-o-100"><br>
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                    <div class="gmail-flex">
                      <div class="gmail-font-xxxs gmail-dib
                        gmail-font-xxs-ns gmail-mb-xxs"><span
                          class="gmail-gray-darkest">By </span><a
                          class="gmail-gray-darkest gmail-b gmail-bb
                          gmail-bc-gray gmail-bt-hover"
                          href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/neena-satija/"
                          moz-do-not-send="true">Neena Satija</a></div>
                    </div>
                    <span class="gmail-font-xxxs gmail-gray-dark
                      gmail-author-description gmail-lh-md">Neena Satija
                      has been an investigative reporter for The
                      Washington Post since January 2019. She was
                      previously an investigative reporter and radio
                      producer for the Texas Tribune and Reveal, a
                      national radio show and podcast. </span> <a
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                      href="https://twitter.com/@neenareports"
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                        gmail-truncate"
                        href="https://twitter.com/@neenareports"
                        moz-do-not-send="true"> <span class="gmail-dib
                          gmail-b gmail-bb gmail-bc-gray">Twitter</span></a></span></div>
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