no third solution

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Susan LeFevre: Retribution or Rehabilitation

May 7th, 2008

Is the prison system in America about retribution or rehabilitation? I think it’s more about retribution. How else might one explain the conditions in which prisoners life (and sometimes die)? How else might one explain the abuse, rampant at the hands of the inmates and guards alike?

Retribution is different from rehabilitation, and it also differs from restitution, which many justice systems try to incorporate. Retribution is driven by a base and animal hatred, it is vengeance over and above any damages owed. Retribution is, “It’s not enough that you compensate me for my pain and suffering, you too must suffer!.” (Never mind the fact that non-violent drug offenders are the cause of no pain, and no suffering­ — there is no one to whom they owe restitution!)

Some people think it is (or should be) about rehabilitation, instead. I’d ask those people what they think of Susan LeFevre, who escaped from a work release program in 1975, made her way out to California, married, and raised children. She was initially convicted of a non-violent drug offense, and has had no problems with the law in the 32+ years since her escape. If the object of the justice system is rehabilitation,a preponderance of the evidence in her favor demonstrates that she’s been rehabilitated, that she is not a menace to society.

Of course, I don’t think that LeFevre (or Walsh, or whatever her name really is) should ever have been incarcerated to begin with, so there’s certainly no reason to lock her up, now.

Supporters at want to know why the “State of Michigan [is] spending valuable tax money to imprison Susan Lefevre?” After all, the Police State is losing money, hand-over-fist, just in order to keep current prisoners under lock and key. My guess is that the State of Michigan is trying to make an example out of LeFevre, which clearly points towards retribution, and away from rehabilitation. I couldn’t ask for a better example of how the State is violent and rotten to its core.



  • Dan Z says on: May 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm


    Working now in the corrections field I can see where the retribution angle takes precedence over what should be the true goal, rehabilitation. Much of the system is petty and arbitrary with the emphasis being on punishing people for actions that they committed rather than teaching them new behaviors and rehabilitating them so they do not do the same thing. In this case the women did something that by “law” was “illegal” she was sentenced to prison and escaped. In the ensuing years she has completely turned her life around, no criminal activity, married raising a family. This is rehabilitation this should be the goal. Just because she didnt serve the draconian sentence that was handed down is irrelevant. From what I have seen so far and this is working with youth, not adult corrections, the people in the system learn more diverse negative behavior and actions while in the system than they ever would have learned outside of it. It is an indictment of the system that the recidivism rate for most prisons is so high, this woman escaped the system and did what it is supposed to do, if anything she should be commended for her actions. Any punishment at this point is capricious at best and would do all harm and no good for anyone.

  • anna leyenaar says on: May 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    To support Marie and sign a one minute petition, please go to

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  • COLETTE WUNDERLICH says on: May 9, 2008 at 7:50 am


    I am living the exact same situation. My husband, Jack Duffy, escaped a Trustee Farm in Michigan in 1983. He left for CA and started a new life under an assumed name. In 2006, the Federal Marshals arrested him and extradited him back to Michigan exactly like Susan. He was told he had to finish out the sentence he left and was given an additional year for the escape. Currently, he is not scheduled to be relesed until December, 2011.
    Anything I can do to get this situation out with Susan’s would be greatly appreciated.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics