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Prison sentence ends for Pa. woman in theft case



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Rebecca Price repaid most of what she had stolen.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- An inmate who asked to have her prison sentence reduced so she could bond with her infant was released from prison Friday.

Rebecca Price, 31, of Greencastle, Pa., was sentenced Sept. 8 to five years in prison for stealing more than $23,000 dollars from clients of the Hagerstown travel agency where she worked.

Price gave birth to her first child, Hannah, on Jan. 19. Her grandparents took care of the infant while Price was in prison.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley, who sentenced Price, ordered her release Friday, saying that under federal sentencing guidelines, someone convicted of the same crime would be considered for a sentence of between 10 and 16 months.

Price said that she hopes the victims of her crime "can learn to forgive and not let the choices I've made bind them. ... The only thing that I can do for them is be responsible to make that change in my life. I can't take back the past, but sure can impact the future."

She said she planned to go home and "pray with [Hannah] and be the mother I haven't been able to be."

Probation

Beachley ordered her to serve five years of probation. She is prohibited from working in travel sales or the sale of air transportation, he said. Price had paid $20,000 in restitution by the hearing Friday, her attorney said, and Beachley ordered the balance owed, $3,492, be paid by the end of the day.

Price had been imprisoned at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women in Jessup. Her supporters, including anti-abortion activists who lobbied Gov. Robert Ehrlich for leniency, had wanted her moved into a program for female prisoners with newborns or placed on home detention with her parents in Fort Loudon, Pa.

Beachley said in February said he couldn't legally order either. Prison officials had said that Price wasn't eligible for the maternal inmate program, which lets women spend six months with their babies in a dormlike setting, because her sentence is too long, she's a Pennsylvania resident and she doesn't have a substance-abuse problem. And Maryland has no home-monitoring program for state inmates.




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