This Woman Served 11 Years in Prison on a Marijuana Charge. She’s Been Sent Back Over a Clerical Error. – Opinion

Raquel Esquivel made her way from federal prison to freedom in May 2020 after spending more than a decade on drug charges. Thanks to an oversight at the halfway house, almost a year later she was back on her feet.

She has not left her custody since. Only one exception to this rule: she went to hospital last week to have the baby that she created while inside prison.

Over the past year, thousands of inmates at low risk were allowed to continue their sentences with home confinement. It was intended to decrease coronavirus transmission rate in prisons that are overcrowded. The trial period was a success beyond the COVID mitigation measures. Of the 4,500 prisoners released because of COVID, only three have reoffended. Two of them were nonviolent criminals, Michael Carvajal (director of Federal Bureau of Prisons) said.

Esquivel was charged with using her Border Patrol position to aid Diego Esquivel, a pot dealer. Esquivel was also accused of helping Esquivel get drugs over the border. There was some form of tryst between the two. Raquel was convicted on 2009 of conspiracy to possess and intend to distribute marijuana. Raquel had been accused of telling Diego the locations of her sensors in order to allow him to illegally smuggle drug from Mexico. Raquel has maintained her innocence, claiming that Diego used a harmless conversation to inflict a lower sentence.

According to 2016 court documents, he testified against Raquel that he wanted to reduce his sentence. Texas Tribune pieceHer involvement was described by him as: “I had asked her some questions, she replied.” Diego was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, and he has been freed along with his accomplices. Raquel is still in prison, at most due to Dismas Charities Halfway house’s incompetence.

Dismas was hired by the BOP to follow Esquivel. They required her to call them several times per day. It also made it difficult for her to travel, making her unable to go beyond her job as a bookkeeper and to Walmart to shop (for which special permission was needed). Esquivel said she kept those phone calls consistent, which is why Dismas called Esquivel and asked her to go immediately. She was under investigation for missing one of her check-ins—a call she insists she made, and had a record of.

Dismas was convinced by Esquivel’s phone call record. Perhaps the person who received it didn’t log it. This wouldn’t be Dismas’ first instance of corruption and bureaucratic incompetence on the part the halfway house. Dismas already had the problem reported to BOP and she was taken back into custody by that time. Her compassionate release petition was denied by the judge. Dismas will continue to be behind bars till March 2022, when she is due to finish her sentence.

Kevin Ring is the director of FAMM. He says that “I cannot believe that they thought this was worth it.” You still get the benefit of taking a very pregnant lady to your place, even if she does some thing. [prison]Where people have died from COVID.” Ring presents the conservative argument in favor of home confinement. Anyone who is pro-family or cares about their children would agree. [not]Think she should be divorced from her baby. Also, home confinement saves money and quite a bit of it. An average home prisoner’s annual cost is $13,000. A correctional inmate is nearly 300x more expensive at $37,000.

Esquivel isn’t the first person taxpayers had to subsidise over a telephone call. Jeffrey A. Martinovich was sentenced for white-collar crimes in July. He didn’t answer his phone on one night during home confinement, and was returned to prison where he is currently serving four years. Martinovich was treated as an escapee like Esquivel. He was not in prison that night, but his GPS monitor showed that he was there. Gwen Levi was another case that was well-publicized. This 76-year old woman was placed back in prison after she missed a call while taking a word processing course. Later, she was released.

The Biden administration announced last month that federal drug offenders will be eligible for clemency applications if placed in home confinement because they have COVID or had less than 4 years remaining on their sentences. At one point, that would have been good news for Esquivel—though if she ever caught wind of it, she did so from inside FMC Carswell.