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A 76-year-old woman was sent back to prison for not answering her phone during a class

Gwen Levi served 16 years of a 24-year sentence for conspiracy to sell at least one kilogram of heroin. 

Gwen Levi Bill O’Leary

To prevent prisoners from contracting COVID-19 last year, the Trump administration allowed nearly 4,500 inmates to be released. Seventy-six-year-old Gwen Levi was among those who qualified for the early dismissal. Levi served 16 years of a 24-year sentence for conspiracy to sell at least one kilogram of heroin.

According to The Washington Post, Levi is back in prison. The senior citizen was arrested, this time, for not answering her phone when authorities attempted to reach her. Levi was reportedly in a computer word-processing class in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at the time. As of June 12, she is in a Washington, D.C. jail, waiting to be transferred to a federal facility, her attorney Sapna Mirchandani told The Post.

“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.”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons incident report states officials discovered through her ankle monitor that Levi was not where she was supposed to be. When she didn’t answer the phone for a few hours, authorities who had been trying to reach her since 10 a.m. labeled Ms. Levi’s unapproved trip an “escape.”

“I feel like I was attempting to do all the right things,” Levi said through her attorney. “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.”

Kristie A. Breshears, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), told The Washington Post that bureau staff decides if an inmate should be sent back to “secure custody.” She also mentioned that when the pandemic is completely over, BOP will decide whether to release prisoners to home confinement if they’re nearing the end of their sentences.

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