Ex-Wyoming Area Teachers Union president was facing incarceration in Texas

Last updated: March 25. 2014 11:28PM - 5003 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

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A former Wyoming Area Teachers Union president will report to a federal women’s prison in Connecticut on Thursday to begin serving time for embezzling from the group.

Lisa Barrett, of Shavertown, has been assigned to Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, her lawyer, Scranton attorney Christopher Powell, said Tuesday.

According to its website, FCI Danbury is described as “a low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp,” having a population of 174 inmates.

Barrett must serve one year in custody under a January sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge James M. Munley against the 48-year-old. Barrett pleaded guilty on Oct. 2 to embezzling nearly $60,000 using union debit and credit cards.

Her assignment to the New England facility comes after anxious weeks in which Barrett’s lawyers contested an initial decision that would have seen her sent to FMC Carswell, in Texas. That is a much larger federal medical facility in Forth Worth, at which there are 1,785 inmates, split between 1,504 inmates at the medical center and 281 at an adjacent camp, according to its website.

“I think what happened was, the Bureau of Prisons misinterpreted some of her (past) medical conditions and assigned her to a federal medical facility,” Powell said. “She doesn’t belong there.”

Federal officials said they could not confirm assignments prior to an inmate’s arrival.

Powell, in a filing last month, argued that “it is the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ policy to place an individual in the least restrictive facility for which she qualifies within 500 miles of a release residence,” adding there are less restrictive prison camps in both Connecticut and West Virginia.

Even the judge seemed to agree.

Powell succeeded in securing from Munley on Feb. 27 an order extending Barrett’s reporting deadline from March 5 until this Thursday.

Munley wrote then that while place of confinement “is totally at the discretion of the Bureau of Prisons,” he recommended that the agency “designate a facility proximal to the defendant’s home and family in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, as the place of service for her sentence.”

Court documents filed by Powell reveal Barrett also sought the assistance of a Virginia sentencing specialist, Joel Sickler, of Justice Advocacy Group, who was dealing directly with the federal chief of medical designations in Texas regarding Barrett’s case.

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