Baltimore grandmother released after violating parole by not answering phone

A Baltimore grandmother is back home after being arrested for violating parole by turning her phone off during a computer class.

Gwen Levi, 76, was serving a multi-decade sentence for drug conspiracy when the coronavirus pandemic began.

Under a Trump administration decision, more than 24,000 nonviolent inmates were allowed to serve the rest of their sentences in home confinement last year, part of an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the prison system.

Levi was one of the thousands of inmates chosen.

Things were uneventful for her, until she attended a word processing class earlier this year.

According to Levi’s attorney, she had been approved to take the class, but when she went to the 2.5-hour course, she turned her phone off.

As fate would have it, it was during that time period when an officer was trying to call and check in on her.

When Levi did not respond after numerous calls, it was considered a violation of her parole and she was arrested.

In its report, the Federal Bureau of Prisons deemed her lack of response an escape.

Her attorney had filed a request for a compassionate release and on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow granted that request, allowing Levi to return to home confinement.

In her four-page ruling, Chasanow noted that Levi had done well in home confinement previously.

She also noted Levi’s age and medical history as a cancer patient in her decision.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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